Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-z5d2w Total loading time: 0.242 Render date: 2021-12-06T00:32:36.741Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

14 - Ideology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Michael H. Hunt
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Michael J. Hogan
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
Thomas G. Paterson
Affiliation:
University of Connecticut
Get access

Summary

Ideology is the proper concern of all diplomatic historians. Its relevance rests on a simple proposition of fundamental importance: To move in a world of infinite complexity, individuals and societies need to reduce that world to finite terms. Only then can they pretend an understanding of their environment and have the confidence to talk about it and the courage to act on it. Policymaking, like any other individual or collective activity, requires that simplifying clarity. Policymakers get their keys to “reality” in the same ways that others in their culture do. Policymakers are formed by a socialization that begins in childhood and continues even as they try to retain those keys or to discard them as a result of experience in making decisions.

Thus, every diplomatic historian, like it or not, constantly comes in contact with the problem of ideology. Those intent on a better understanding of its importance and complexity may turn to a rich, suggestive body of literature. Part of that literature comes from political scientists preoccupied with the problem of definition. Their work catalogs the senses in which ideology is used (some twenty-seven according to one count) and sorts through the variations in meaning. Historians will find these writings particularly helpful in formulating a working definition with the greatest utility and applicability to their concerns. Those who think of the concept of ideology as unproblematic will see the importance of being explicit about what it is and what it does, while anyone inclined to downplay the role of ideas or to regard them as freestanding may well reconsider after encountering definitions with clear interpretative promise.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
2
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Ideology
  • Edited by Michael J. Hogan, Ohio State University, Thomas G. Paterson, University of Connecticut
  • Book: Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806445.015
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Ideology
  • Edited by Michael J. Hogan, Ohio State University, Thomas G. Paterson, University of Connecticut
  • Book: Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806445.015
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Ideology
  • Edited by Michael J. Hogan, Ohio State University, Thomas G. Paterson, University of Connecticut
  • Book: Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806445.015
Available formats
×