What’s Ideology Got to Do With It?

  • Paul OrlowskiEmail author
Part of the Explorations of Educational Purpose book series (EXEP, volume 17)


This chapter provides the necessary grounding in political ideology and its influence on the ways people perceive and act in the social world. Every political ideology has three aspects: a critique of society, a vision of the best society, and agency to get closer to attaining that vision. This chapter makes a case for the relevance of three political ideologies that arose out of modernity, namely, liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. It explains the evolution of all three ideologies, in particular the ways in which the critical left has reformed the economic theories of socialism into social democracy, an ideology that shares the same social values as liberalism in terms of minority rights and anti-capital punishment. Social democratic governments accept capitalism, but support legislation to help economically oppressed groups. This chapter deconstructs ubiquitous use of political terms such as right wing and left wing by replacing them with a more sophisticated taxonomy that includes specific ideological positions on both economic and social issues. For example, this economic/social distinction explains why some Americans call the Democratic Party left wing, while others consider it to be as supportive of the corporate agenda as the Republican Party. Both views are correct: on social issues, the Democrats are mostly progressive or left wing, while on economic issues they are clearly beholden to the right wing agenda of the major corporations. The chapter includes questions that will help the reader develop a deep understanding of these ideologies and their positions on important social, economic, and political issues in the United States and Canada.


Social Justice Political Ideology Democratic Party Left Wing Liberal Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Saskatchewan/SaskatoonSaskatoonCanada

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