This is a general guide to writing annotated bibliographies. Before beginning to write your own annotated bibliography, always look at the course assignment sheet or check with your professor for specific instructions.
What is the Difference Between a Bibliography and an Annotated Bibliography?
- A bibliography is an organized list of works consulted when you are doing research on a particular topic, composed using the standard disciplinary referencing style (MLA, Chicago, APA, CSE, etc.), and placed at the end of a paper, journal article, chapter, or book
- An annotated bibliography is a separate paper, journal article, appendix to a journal article, or complete book consisting of a series of entries on a single theme, organized either alphabetically, by date, or by topic. Each entry consists of two parts that together form a single record:
- the citation in the proper referencing style
- a one-paragraph discussion (or "annotation") of the source listed above
How is the Annotation in an Annotated Bibliography Different from an Abstract?
- An abstract is a descriptive summary of a single longer text, with content summarized in the same order as the original. It is often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles, in periodical indexes, or in electronic databases
- An annotation enables readers to see the relationship of a number of written works to each other and in the context of the topic studied
- Although what is required in annotated bibliographies differs from discipline to discipline, many annotations are both descriptive and critical and illustrate the writer's library research skills, summarizing expertise, point of view, analytical ability, and understanding of the field
What is the Purpose of an Annotated Bibliography?
- To present the reader with a fairly comprehensive, yet focused, selection of the scholarly sources on a given topic
- Provide a bird's-eye view or general review of a specialized field
- More narrowed prelude to a proposal for future study or to a review of literature
The disciplinary area and purpose of an individual annotated bibliography will determine its character. However, in most cases, it is your chance to:
- Provide an overview of your topic and illustrate that you know your subject well
- Show off your abilities to do bibliographical research
- Identify the theses or arguments of the books and articles you have chosen
- Place research on a particular topic in an historical context
- Assess the value of the reference for other scholars in the field and thus participate in the conversation of your academic community
- Describe the usefulness of the texts for your own research and distinguish areas for further research, thus helping you find your own way toward a working thesis argument
How Should You Format Your Annotated Bibliography?
Each entry in an annotated bibliography provides full bibliographical information (normally in the style* your department or discipline requires), then a paraphrase of, or commentary on, the source. Depending on the length of the annotated bibliography, these entries will be listed either alphabetically (typical in a short student paper), by ascending date, or by topic (in a long student paper).
*Note that each style guide suggests its own way of setting up an annotated bibliography.
There are also two writing styles in annotated bibliographies: one is to write in sentences, and the other, emphasizing conciseness, is to write in a kind of point-form using phrases rather than sentences. None of the examples in this handout uses the latter style, but an example of the point-form (or telegraphic style) would be: "An historical view of research in the field in the last century. Contains brief descriptions of important legislation." Ask your professor which style is preferable.
The text of an annotation normally ranges from two to ten sentences. This forces you to focus on the central ideas in the text and to write objectively.
A long annotated bibliography may be preceded by an introduction to the topic chosen, with a discussion of the rationale behind the selection of the entries for the bibliography as well as the exclusion of others, and the timeframe covered. In a very long annotated bibliography, the entries are often numbered (see examples A and B), but this is rare in student papers. As suggested above, other options for longer annotated bibliographies would be to arrange entries under topic and subtopic headings, or in chronological order. Again, check with your professor to find out what organizational style is preferred.
What Referencing Style Should You Use in an Annotated Bibliography?
Generally, MLA, Chicago, or APA style is used, although, as you can see from several of our examples in this handout, this is not always the case in some disciplines. Ask your professor what referencing style you should use. But whatever style you use, make sure the appearance and form are consistent throughout your text.
The Process of Writing and Annotated Bibliography
1. Find and record citations for books, journal articles, and other primary documents on your topic
What types of sources should you be looking for and how can you find them?
- This depends upon the discipline, but one good rule is to have some primary sources (original texts, research reports, or documents) as well as secondary (from academic journal articles where a learned author is analyzing other people's work). In the sciences, published journal articles in which scientists are reporting their own research are primary sources
- Try to find published bibliographies (in books, journals, or online) to get a quick start. Look in the Book Review Index for reviews of books, or in online biographical sources to find out more about authors
- Look at reference lists or bibliographies in related (and preferably recent) articles and books. Repeated names indicate that these are essential sources and you should probably include them in your bibliography
- The sources you choose should have some value to your own research question. Even if they don't bear directly on your subject, they might use a theoretical framework that you can apply to (or reject for) your own work
- When you are using a database, note keywords or synonyms you might use as alternatives to find materials that are related to your area of interest
- Use a citation manager to collect citations and record summaries
- When you begin to work on your annotations, start with the major scholarly works first. (You will recognize them as the works most referred to and most cited in other reference lists.) This will give you a good grounding and provide the context for the rest of your entries
How can you evaluate your sources while reading?
- Skim abstracts, prefaces, tables of contents, and indexes to see if it will be useful for you to read the text thoroughly. Remember to check for synonyms to describe your topic if you can't find the exact word or phrase readily in the index
- Take notes as you read. Bibliographic details, a summary of contents, notations of methodology, theoretical perspective, pertinence to your project, and biographical data (about the author) can be stapled to photocopies or printouts of papers, or paper-clipped to books
- Make a chart. Down the side write the names of the authors and texts, and along the top write important sub-topics (such as the author's reputation or background, intended audience, theoretical perspective, centrality to your own research topic, contributions to the field, gaps in the approach, evidence used, comprehensiveness of coverage, level of generality, accuracy of details, date of source, etc.). This will allow you to compare and contrast the value of the works from your chosen perspectives
2. Choose how you will organize your annotated bibliography
- Remember, there are three ways of organizing your annotated bibliography: by author alphabetically, by date, or by subtopics or sections. The latter will not be necessary in a very short paper
- Decide whether you need to write a paragraph as a preface, explaining the scope of your annotated bibliography (within certain dates, within geographic parameters, only in a certain genre, etc.), or noting any other particulars (such as abbreviations, etc.). Most of the time, undergraduate annotated bibliographies are relatively short and simple, and will not need such a preface
3. Write your annotations and save them in a file
- As soon as you read each work, compose what you think is a finished annotation for that text and proofread it while you still have the text in front of
- you to check for any errors. Save your entry for the finished draft of your paper. Don't just make brief notes that you intend to return to when you are writing up your final draft, since later you may not remember what you meant when you made the note
- After finishing a few entries, check to see that that the taxonomy and annotation style is appropriate for your purposes. You may find at this stage that your first entries are too wordy and include too much detail, or that your entries are stylistically inconsistent. Don't worry; that's normal at this stage
- Decide what you need to do to make all of your entries appropriate and consistent; revise what you have done, and continue to create the rest of your annotations with the first entries as a guide
4. After you have written your first draft, check it over
- First, check each citation for accuracy and consistency. Have you focused on the major points of the text? Make sure that you have not mixed the two types of annotated bibliography, with some as only paraphrases, and others as commentary or critical annotations
- Then, check your assignment instructions once again to make certain you have included all the elements you need in each annotation. To do this, make up a checklist and compare each entry against the list
- Read through your document for errors in grammar, punctuation, and style, and to make sure that your annotations (a) are accurate in their description of the original texts, and (b) read logically and coherently. Be sure to note (and check for accuracy) any odd spellings of names
- Check your tenses and be as consistent as is logically possible. Historical present is the tense most commonly used (the use of the present tense to refer to an event in the past), e.g., "Sedgewick relies on ridicule, sarcasm and fear-mongering to argue…." There may be some reasons to use the past tense, i.e., reporting on a paper you heard delivered at a conference, e.g., "The presenter spoke about artistic autonomy" or referring to an historical event in the past, e.g., "Brecht's thought was undergoing radicalization during and after the collaborations."
- Avoid the passive voice if at all possible, e.g., Change "Artistic autonomy was spoken about by the presenter" to "The presenter spoke about artistic autonomy."
- Make certain that you have avoided using quotations, except when the words quoted are important terms that you wish to highlight
- Look over your work to see if you have used key annotation verbs such as demonstrates, asserts, speculates
Samples from Annotated Bibliographies
Annotated Bibliographies in the Arts & Social Sciences vs. the Sciences
In the arts and some social sciences, annotated bibliographies will be judged by how critical and analytical they are and often by how the writer links the text's usefulness to his or her potential or imaginary research project. In the sciences and some of the more scientific of the social sciences, annotated bibliographies are rarely used; when they are used, they will often be primarily summary or descriptive—that is, they will paraphrase the original text.
1. Summary or Descriptive Annotations
The purpose of the summary or descriptive annotated bibliography is to give the reader a summary of the main findings or arguments in a source with no analysis or evaluation. Although annotated bibliographies are rarely used in the sciences, when they are used they often take this form. The following sample is from a scientific source 1. Note that this bibliographic entry follows a scientific referencing style. It is all single-spaced, and the annotation is numbered (e.g., 1312) since it is taken from a long book that is an annotated bibliography.
1312. Wilson, M.C. (1996): Late Quaternary vertebrates and the opening of the ice-free corridor, with special reference to the genus Bison. Quarternary International 32: 97-105. One way to gauge the ecological opening of the ice-free corridor is to establish the chronology for the arrival of immigrant animal species. Bison (Bison) have excellent potential because of the abundance of their remains. Bison of 'southern' appearance [referable to ancient bison (Bison bison antiquus)] were present as far N [sic] as the Peace River region until about 10,000 B.P. Bison populations in western Canada apparently underwent a rapid change at that time, such that barely 500 years later, bison of 'northern' appearance [referable to western bison (Bison bison occidentalis)] were established. The rapidity and pervasiveness of this change seem to defy an evolutionary explanation rooted in punctuated equilibrium or phenotypic change, and could indicate a sudden population influx through the newly opened corridor.
2. Critical Annotations
A critical annotation goes beyond simple summarizing of the material in the original.
- It evaluates the reliability of the information presented; the authors' credentials (outlier or influential?); the value of the reference for other scholars; and, if relevant, the appropriateness of the methodologies followed
- It evaluates the conclusions, and discusses how successfully the authors achieve their aims. If the annotated bibliography is intended as a first step to a review of literature leading to a major paper, thesis, or dissertation, then it will also evaluate how useful the information and methodological approaches will be for someone doing research on a particular project
- It may also indicate your own critical reactions to the sources
This might be done by indicating whether the information presented is at odds with other authors' findings or approaches to the subject— and hypothesizing why. For example, did this writer have access to sources that former writers were unable to access; did the writer fail to take important information into consideration? Did the author take a certain approach as the result of a particular theoretical viewpoint? It is always important to note when the author of one of the texts in your annotated bibliography is an outlier (espousing an opinion or approach that is different from the majority).
In the following examples, the critical comments are highlighted in bold text.
Example A—MLA Style:
In the first example 2, the style is MLA, and the original author has used an abbreviation for the title of the journal. Such abbreviations would be used only when the same journal titles are repeated often in a long annotated bibliography and when the abbreviations are identified in a preface to the annotations. Note that in MLA style the left margin should be 1 inch, with double-spacing between and within entries, and the second or subsequent lines should be indented a further ½ inch. Note also that the actual annotation does not begin on a separate line from the citation. You will not normally need to assign a number for each citation unless you are so instructed.
556. Fisher, Alexander J. "Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, and the Defense of the Autonomy of Art in the Late Weimar Republic." HJb 28 (1999): 11-53. Useful but uneven article suggesting that Hindemith's desire to collaborate with Brecht and Benn was motivated by his desire to maintain the artistic autonomy of music against its appropriation by various social agendas (Lehrstück and Lindberghflug as a reaction to the cultural conservatism of the Jugendmusikbewegung; Das Unaufhörliche as a reaction to Brecht's socialism). Hindemith's incomplete understanding of the collaborators' agendas may not have been entirely his fault, as Brecht's thought was undergoing radicalization during and after the collaborations; Benn's nihilism was much less known by the reading public than was his stance on art, and his susceptibility to Nazi ideology apparent only in retrospect. All this is correct up to a point; however, the article falters, as did Hindemith, by failing to acknowledge or challenge the leftist critique that artistic autonomy itself entails a socio-political agenda. Perhaps this explains Fisher's account of Hindemith's attempt to achieve a modus vivendi with the Nazis, which includes the obligatory citations from the Mathis libretto, but is disturbing for being offered (in stark contrast to his analyses of the Brecht and Benn collaborations) almost entirely without commentary, let alone critical evaluation.
Example B—APA Style:
This example 3 focuses on methodological questions and usefulness, and in this case the annotation notes that the article's usefulness is for instructors in Family Studies. An annotated bibliography written by a student will typically focus on the usefulness for the research s/he is either hypothetically or actually going to undertake. Once again, the analytical part of the entry is highlighted in bold text. The APA Publication Manual doesn't have any guidelines for annotated bibliographies, but their organization says that the following layout would fit well in a paper otherwise formatted in APA style. It is double-spaced, with hanging indents for the second line of the citation, a space between the citation and the annotation, and a block indented two more spaces for the annotation.
Thompson, L. (1992). Feminist methodology for family studies. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 3-18. Research methodology encompasses agenda, epistemology, ethics, and methods. Thompson illustrates each of these aspects of methodology with feminist examples from family studies. In so doing, she moves the literature of feminist research beyond the debate of qualitative versus quantitative methods. This article can be assigned to students regardless of whether they are using a feminist perspective in order to assist them in clarifying for themselves how they are addressing these aspects of methodology in their own research.
Example C—Chicago style:
The following excerpt from a student paper 4 annotates a primary source (the text of an original speech). This annotated bibliography was a preliminary step to a thesis researching the history of women and education. The bolded text in the second sentence indicates the writer's analysis of the rhetorical methods used in the primary source, and we can see in the final bolded sentence a suggestion of one of the themes ("the tactics and rhetoric employed by those opposed to equality in educational and professional opportunities") that she may go on to explore in her own thesis. There is a hanging indent after the first line of the citation, and the rest of the annotation continues on with the same hanging indent. Unlike MLA style, there is no double-spacing. Chicago Style has two systems of formatting the actual citation (but not the annotation), depending on whether you use notes (footnotes/endnotes) or the author-date system. Be sure to check the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style or the Learning Commons handout on Chicago referencing style to find out the differences. This example follows Chicago's "notes and bibliography" citation style.
Sedgewick, R. "The Proper Sphere and Influence of Women in Christian Society ." In The Proper Sphere: Woman's Place in Canadian Society, edited by R. Cook and W. Mitchinson, 8–34. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1976. This is the text of a November 1856 speech that Reverend Robert Sedgewick delivered at the Halifax YMCA. Focusing on the biblical debate that women are meant to be the help-meets of men, Sedgewick relies on ridicule, sarcasm and fear-mongering to argue that it is in the best interest of society to restrict women from courses of education that would take them outside of the home. This speech serves as an excellent example of the tactics and rhetoric employed by those opposed to equality in educational and professional opportunities.
Links to Web Resources on Annotated Bibliographies
• University of Toronto: Writing an Annotated Bibliography: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/annotate...
• Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Annotated Bibliography Example: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/02/
1 C. R. Harington, ed., Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Vertebrates of Northern North America: with Radiocarbon Dates (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), 318–19.
2 Luttman, Stephen, Paul Hindemith: A Guide to Research (New York: Routledge, 2005).
3 Humble, Áine M., et al., "Feminism and Mentoring of Graduate Students," Family Relations 55 (January 2006): 2.
Ideology is a comprehensive set of normativebeliefs, conscious and unconscious ideas, that an individual, group or society has.
An ideology is narrower in scope than the ideas expressed in concepts such as worldview, imaginary and ontology.
Political ideologies can be proposed by the dominant class of society such as the elite to all members of society as suggested in some Marxist and critical-theory accounts. In societies that distinguish between public and private life, every political or economic tendency entails ideology, whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.[further explanation needed]
In the Althusserian sense, ideology is "the imagined existence (or idea) of things as it relates to the real conditions of existence".
Etymology and history
The term "ideology" was born during the Great Terror of French Revolution, and acquired several other meanings thereafter.
The word, and the system of ideas associated with it, was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796, while he was in prison pending trial during the Terror. The word was created by assembling the words idea, from Greekἰδέα (near to the Lockean sense) and -logy, from -λογία.
The coup that overthrew Maximilien Robespierre allowed Tracy to pursue his work. 
Tracy reacted to the terroristic phase of the revolution by trying to work out a rational system of ideas to oppose the irrational mob impulses that had nearly destroyed him. He devised the term to refer to a "science of ideas" which he hoped would form a secure foundation for the moral and political sciences by examining two things: 1) sensations people experienced as they interact with the material world; and 2) the ideas that formed in their minds due to those sensations. He conceived of "Ideology" a liberal philosophy which provided a powerful defense of individual liberty, property, free markets, and constitutional limits on state power. He argues that among these aspects ideology is the most generic term, because the science of ideas also contains the study of their expression and deduction. 
Tracy worked this out during the Napoleonic regime, and Napoleon Bonaparte came to view 'Ideology' a term of abuse which he often hurled against his liberal foes in Tracy's Institut National. According to Karl Mannheim's historical reconstruction of the shifts in the meaning of ideology, the modern meaning of the word was born when Napoleon used it to describe his opponents as "the ideologues". Karl Marx adopted this negative sense of the term and used it in his writings (he described Tracy as a "fischblütige Bourgeoisdoktrinär", a fishblooded bourgeois doctrinaire). 
Tracy's major book, The Elements of Ideology, was soon translated into the major languages of Europe, and in the next generation, when post-Napoleonic governments adopted a reactionary stance, influenced the Italian, Spanish and Russian thinkers who had begun to describe themselves as "liberals" and who attempted to reignite revolutionary activity in the early 1820s (these included the Carlist rebels in Spain, the Carbonari societies in France and Italy, and the Decembrists in Russia).
In the century after Tracy, the term ideology moved back and forth between positive and negative connotations.
(Perhaps the most accessible source for the near-original meaning of ideology is Hippolyte Taine's work on the Ancien Régime (the first volume of "Origins of Contemporary France"). He describes ideology as rather like teaching philosophy by the Socratic method, but without extending the vocabulary beyond what the general reader already possessed, and without the examples from observation that practical science would require. Taine identifies it not just with Destutt De Tracy, but also with his milieu, and includes Condillac as one of its precursors. (Destutt de Tracy read the works of Locke and Condillac while he was imprisoned during the Reign of Terror.))
The term "ideology" has dropped some of its pejorative sting, and has become a neutral term in the analysis of differing political opinions and views of social groups. While Karl Marx situated the term within class struggle and domination, others believed it was a necessary part of institutional functioning and social integration.
There has been considerable analysis of different ideological patterns. This kind of analysis has been described by some as meta-ideology—the study of the structure, form, and manifestation of ideologies. Recent analysis tends to posit that ideology is a coherent system of ideas, relying upon a few basic assumptions about reality that may or may not have any factual basis. Ideas become ideologies (that is, become coherent, repeated patterns) through the subjective ongoing choices that people make, serving as the seed around which further thought grows. According to most recent analysis, ideologies are neither necessarily right nor wrong. Believers in ideology range from passive acceptance through fervent advocacy to true belief. An excessive need for certitude lurks at fundamentalist levels in politics and religions.
This accords with definitions such as given by Manfred Steger and Paul James which emphasize both the issue of patterning and contingent claims to truth:
Ideologies are patterned clusters of normatively imbued ideas and concepts, including particular representations of power relations. These conceptual maps help people navigate the complexity of their political universe and carry claims to social truth.
The works of George Walford and Harold Walsby, done under the heading of systematic ideology, are attempts to explore the relationships between ideology and social systems. Charles Blattberg has offered an account which distinguishes political ideologies from political philosophies.
David W. Minar describes six different ways in which the word "ideology" has been used:
- As a collection of certain ideas with certain kinds of content, usually normative;
- As the form or internal logical structure that ideas have within a set;
- By the role in which ideas play in human-social interaction;
- By the role that ideas play in the structure of an organization;
- As meaning, whose purpose is persuasion; and
- As the locus of social interaction.
For Willard A. Mullins an ideology should be contrasted with the related (but different) issues of utopia and historical myth. An ideology is composed of four basic characteristics:
- it must have power over cognition
- it must be capable of guiding one's evaluations;
- it must provide guidance towards action; and
- it must be logically coherent.
Terry Eagleton outlines (more or less in no particular order) some definitions of ideology:
- the process of production of meanings, signs and values in social life;
- a body of ideas characteristic of a particular social group or class;
- ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power;
- false ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power;
- systematically distorted communication;
- that which offers a position for a subject;
- forms of thought motivated by social interests;
- identity thinking;
- socially necessary illusion;
- the conjuncture of discourse and power;
- the medium in which conscious social actors make sense of their world;
- action-oriented sets of beliefs;
- the confusion of linguistic and phenomenal reality;
- semiotic closure;
- the indispensable medium in which individuals live out their relations to a social structure;
- the process whereby social life is converted to a natural reality.
The German philosopher Christian Duncker called for a "critical reflection of the ideology concept" (2006). In his work, he strove to bring the concept of ideology into the foreground, as well as the closely connected concerns of epistemology and history. In this work, the term ideology is defined in terms of a system of presentations that explicitly or implicitly claim to absolute truth.
Though the word "ideology" is most often found in political discourse, there are many different kinds of ideology: political, social, epistemological, ethical, etc.
In the Marxisteconomic base and superstructure model of society, base denotes the relations of production and modes of production, and superstructure denotes the dominant ideology (religious, legal, political systems). The economic base of production determines the political superstructure of a society. Ruling class-interests determine the superstructure and the nature of the justifying ideology—actions feasible because the ruling class control the means of production. For example, in a feudalmode of production, religious ideology is the most prominent aspect of the superstructure, while in capitalist formations, ideologies such as liberalism and social democracy dominate. Hence the great importance of the ideology justifying a society; it politically confuses the alienated groups of society via false consciousness.
Some explanations have been presented. György Lukács proposes ideology as a projection of the class consciousness of the ruling class. Antonio Gramsci uses cultural hegemony to explain why the working-class have a false ideological conception of what are their best interests. Marx argued that "The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production."
The Marxist formulation of "ideology as an instrument of social reproduction" is conceptually important to the sociology of knowledge, viz. Karl Mannheim, Daniel Bell, and Jürgen Habermas et al. Moreover, Mannheim has developed, and progressed, from the "total" but "special" Marxist conception of ideology to a "general" and "total" ideological conception acknowledging that all ideology (including Marxism) resulted from social life, an idea developed by the sociologistPierre Bourdieu. Slavoj Žižek and the earlier Frankfurt School added to the "general theory" of ideology a psychoanalytic insight that ideologies do not include only conscious, but also unconscious ideas.
Louis Althusser's ideological state apparatuses
Louis Althusser proposed both spiritual and materialistic conception of ideology, which made use of a special type of discourse: the lacunar discourse. A number of propositions, which are never untrue, suggest a number of other propositions, which are. In this way, the essence of the lacunar discourse is what is not told (but is suggested).
For example, the statement "All are equal before the law", which is a theoretical groundwork of current legal systems, suggests that all people may be of equal worth or have equal "opportunities". This is not true, for the concept of private property and power over the means of production results in some people being able to own more (much more) than others. This power disparity contradicts the claim that all share both practical worth and future opportunity equally; for example, the rich can afford better legal representation, which practically privileges them before the law.
Althusser also proffered the concept of the ideological state apparatus to explain his theory of ideology. His first thesis was "ideology has no history": while individual ideologies have histories, interleaved with the general class struggle of society, the general form of ideology is external to history.
For Althusser, beliefs and ideas are the products of social practices, not the reverse. His thesis that "ideas are material" is illustrated by the "scandalous advice" of Pascal toward unbelievers: "kneel and pray, and then you will believe". What is ultimately ideological for Althusser are not the subjective beliefs held in the conscious "minds" of human individuals, but rather discourses that produce these beliefs, the material institutions and rituals that individuals take part in without submitting it to conscious examination and so much more critical thinking.
Ideology and the Commodity in the works of Guy Debord
The French Marxist theorist Guy Debord, founding member of the Situationist International, argued that when the commodity becomes the "essential category" of society, i.e. when the process of commodification has been consummated to its fullest extent, the image of society propagated by the commodity (as it describes all of life as constituted by notions and objects deriving their value only as commodities tradeable in terms of exchange value), colonizes all of life and reduces society to a mere representation, The Society of the Spectacle.
Silvio Vietta: ideology and rationality
The German cultural historianSilvio Vietta described the development and expansion of Western rationality from ancient times onwards as often accompanied by and shaped by ideologies like that of the "just war", the "true religion", racism, nationalism, or the vision of future history as a kind of heaven on earth in communism. He said that ideas like these became ideologies by giving hegemonic political actions an idealistic veneer and equipping their leaders with a higher and, in the "political religions" (Eric Voegelin), nearly God-like power, so that they became masters over the lives (and the deaths) of millions of people. He considered that ideologies therefore contributed to power politics irrational shields of ideas beneath which they could operate as manifestations of idealism.
Eric Hoffer: unifying agents
The American philosopher Eric Hoffer identified several elements which work to unify followers of a particular ideology:
1) Hatred: "Mass movements can rise and spread without a God, but never without belief in a devil.". The "ideal devil" is a foreigner.
2) Imitation: "The less satisfaction we derive from being ourselves, the greater is our desire to be like others ... the more we mistrust our judgment and luck, the more are we ready to follow the example of others."
3) Persuasion: The proselytizing zeal of propagandists derives from "a passionate search for something not yet found more than a desire to bestow something we already have."
4) Coercion: Hoffer asserts that violence and fanaticism are interdependent. People forcibly converted to Islamic or communist beliefs become as fanatical as those who did the forcing. "It takes fanatical faith to rationalize our cowardice."
5) Leadership: Without the leader, there is no movement. Often the leader must wait long in the wings until the time is ripe. He calls for sacrifices in the present, to justify his vision of a breathtaking future. The skills required include: audacity, brazenness, iron will, fanatical conviction; passionate hatred, cunning, a delight in symbols; ability to inspire blind faith in the masses and a group of able lieutenants. Charlatanism is indispensable, and the leader often imitates both friend and foe, "a single-minded fashioning after a model". He will not lead followers towards the "promised land", but only "away from their unwanted selves".
6) Action: Original thoughts are suppressed, and unity encouraged, if the masses are kept occupied through great projects, marches, exploration and industry.
7) Suspicion: "There is prying and spying, tense watching and a tense awareness of being watched." This pathological mistrust goes unchallenged and encourages conformity, not dissent.
Ronald Inglehart of the University of Michigan is author of the World Values Survey which since 1980 has mapped social attitudes in 100 countries representing 90% of global population. Results indicate that where people live is likely to be closely correlated with their ideological beliefs. In much of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, people prefer traditional beliefs and are less tolerant of liberal values. Protestant Europe, at the other extreme, adheres more to secular beliefs and liberal values. Alone among high-income countries, the United States is exceptional in its adherence to traditional beliefs, in this case Christianity.
See also: List of political ideologies
In social studies, a political ideology is a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. Political ideologies are concerned with many different aspects of a society, including (for example): the economy, education, health care, labor law, criminal law, the justice system, the provision of social security and social welfare, trade, the environment, minors, immigration, race, use of the military, patriotism, and established religion.
Political ideologies have two dimensions:
- Goals: how society should work
- Methods: the most appropriate ways to achieve the ideal arrangement
There are many proposed methods for the classification of political ideologies, each of these different methods generate a specific political spectrum. Ideologies also identify themselves by their position on the political spectrum (such as the left, the center or the right), though precision in this respect can very often become controversial. Finally, ideologies can be distinguished from political strategies (e.g., populism) and from single issues that a party may be built around (e.g. legalization of marijuana). Philosopher Michael Oakeshott provides a good definition of ideology as "the formalized abridgment of the supposed sub-stratum of the rational truth contained in the tradition".
A political ideology largely concerns itself with how to allocate power and to what ends power should be used. Some parties follow a certain ideology very closely, while others may take broad inspiration from a group of related ideologies without specifically embracing any one of them. Each political ideology contains certain ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government (e.g. democracy, demagogy, theocracy, caliphate etc.), and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism, socialism, etc.). Sometimes the same word is used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas. For instance, "socialism" may refer to an economic system, or it may refer to an ideology which supports that economic system.
Studies of the concept of ideology itself (rather than specific ideologies) have been carried out under the name of systematic ideology.
Post 1991, many commentators claim that we are living in a post-ideological age, in which redemptive, all-encompassing ideologies have failed, and this view is often associated[by whom?] with Francis Fukuyama's writings on "the end of history". On the other hand, Nienhueser sees research (in the field of human resource management) as ongoingly "generating ideology".
Slavoj Zizek has pointed out how the very notion of post-ideology can enable the deepest, blindest form of ideology. A sort of false consciousness or false cynicism, engaged in for the purpose of lending one's point of view the respect of being objective, pretending neutral cynicism, without truly being so. Rather than help avoiding ideology, this lapse only deepens the commitment to an existing one. Zizek calls this "a post-modernist trap".Peter Sloterdijk advanced the same idea already in 1988.
There are several studies that show that affinity to a specific political ideology is heritable.
When a political ideology becomes a dominantly pervasive component within a government, one can speak of an ideocracy. Different forms of government utilize ideology in various ways, not always restricted to politics and society. Certain ideas and schools of thought become favored, or rejected, over others, depending on their compatibility with or use for the reigning social order.
"Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back", said John Maynard Keynes. How do ideologies become part of government policy? In The Anatomy of Revolution, Crane Brinton said that new ideology spreads when there is discontent with the old regime. Extremists such as Lenin and Robespierre will overcome more moderate revolutionaries. This stage is soon followed by Thermidor, a reining back of revolutionary enthusiasm under pragmatists like Stalin and Napoleon Bonaparte who bring "normalcy and equilibrium". A very similar sequence ("men of ideas>fanatics>practical men of action") occurs in Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, and Brinton's sequence is reiterated by J. William Fulbright. The revolution thus becomes established as an Ideocracy but its rise is likely to be checked by a Political midlife crisis.
Even when the challenging of existing beliefs is encouraged, as in scientific theories, the dominant paradigm or mindset can prevent certain challenges, theories, or experiments from being advanced.
A special case of science adopted as ideology is that of ecology, which studies the relationships among living things on Earth. Perceptual psychologistJames J. Gibson believed that human perception of ecological relationships was the basis of self-awareness and cognition itself. LinguistGeorge Lakoff has proposed a cognitive science of mathematics wherein even the most fundamental ideas of arithmetic would be seen as consequences or products of human perception—which is itself necessarily evolved within an ecology.
Deep ecology and the modern ecology movement (and, to a lesser degree, Green parties) appear to have adopted ecological sciences as a positive ideology.
Some accuse ecological economics of likewise turning scientific theory into political economy, although theses in that science can often be tested. The modern practice of green economics fuses both approaches and seems to be part science, part ideology.
This is far from the only theory of economics to be raised to ideology status—some notable economically based ideologies include neoliberalism, monetarism, mercantilism, mixed economy, social Darwinism, communism, laissez-faire economics, and free trade. There are also current theories of safe trade and fair trade which can be seen as ideologies.
Psychological research increasingly suggests that ideologies reflect (unconscious) motivational processes, as opposed to the view that political convictions always reflect independent and unbiased thinking. Jost, Ledgerwood and Hardin proposed in 2008 that ideologies may function as prepackaged units of interpretation that spread because of basic human motives to understand the world, avoid existential threat, and maintain valued interpersonal relationships. These authors conclude that such motives may lead disproportionately to the adoption of system-justifying worldviews. Psychologists have generally found that personality traits, individual difference variables, needs, and ideological beliefs seem to have a common thread.
Ideology and semiotic theory
According to the semiotician Bob Hodge, ideology "identifies a unitary object that incorporates complex sets of meanings with the social agents and processes that produced them. No other term captures this object as well as 'ideology'. Foucault's 'episteme' is too narrow and abstract, not social enough. His 'discourse', popular because it covers some of ideology's terrain with less baggage, is too confined to verbal systems. 'Worldview' is too metaphysical, 'propaganda' too loaded. Despite or because of its contradictions, 'ideology' still plays a key role in semiotics oriented to social, political life." Authors such as Michael Freeden have also recently incorporated a semantic analysis to the study of ideologies.
- "We do not need ... to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities. The need for a sense of universal responsibility affects every aspect of modern life." – the Dalai Lama.
- "The nice thing about an ism is how quickly it becomes a wasm." – Richard Taruskin.
- "The function of ideology is to stabilize and perpetuate dominance through masking or illusion." – Sally Haslanger
- ^Steger, Manfred B.; James, Paul (2013). "Levels of Subjective Globalization: Ideologies, Imaginaries, Ontologies". Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. 12 (1–2.).
- ^Hart, David M. (2002) Destutt De Tracy: Annotated Bibliography
- ^Kennedy, Emmet (Jul–Sep 1979). ""Ideology" from Destutt De Tracy to Marx". Journal of the History of Ideas. 40 (3): 353–368. doi:10.2307/2709242. JSTOR 2709242.
- ^Hart, David M. (2002) Destutt De Tracy: Annotated Bibliography
- ^Kennedy, Emmet (Jul–Sep 1979). ""Ideology" from Destutt De Tracy to Marx". Journal of the History of Ideas. 40 (3): 353–368. doi:10.2307/2709242. JSTOR 2709242.
- ^De Tracy, Destutt (1801) Les Éléments d'idéologie, 3rd ed. (1817), p. 4, cited by: Mannheim, Karl (1929) Ideologie und Utopie, 2nd footnote in the chapter The problem of "false consciousness"
- ^Eagleton, Terry (1991) Ideology. An introduction, Verso, pg. 2
- ^Tucker, Robert C (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader, W. W. Norton & Company, pg. 3.
- ^Marx, MER, pg. 154
- ^Susan Silbey, "Ideology" at Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology.
- ^James, Paul; Steger, Manfred (2010). Globalization and Culture, Vol. 4: Ideologies of Globalism. London: Sage Publications.
- ^Blattberg, Charles, "Political Philosophies and Political Ideologies", in Patriotic Elaborations: Essays in Practical Philosophy, Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009.
- ^Eagleton, Terry (1991) Ideology: An Introduction, Verso, ISBN 0-86091-319-8
- ^Marx, Karl (1978a). "The Civil War in France", The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
- ^In this discipline, there are lexical disputes over the meaning of the word "ideology" ("false consciousness" as advocated by Marx, or rather "false position" of a statement in itself is correct but irrelevant in the context in which it is produced, as in Max Weber's opinion): Buonomo, Giampiero (2005). "Eleggibilità più ampia senza i paletti del peculato d'uso? Un'occasione (perduta) per affrontare il tema delle leggi ad personam". Diritto&Giustizia edizione online. – via Questia(subscription required)
- ^Guy Debord (1995). The Society of the Spectacle. Zone Books.
- ^Silvio Vietta (2013). A Theory of Global Civilization: Rationality and the Irrational as the Driving Forces of History. Kindle Ebooks.
- ^Silvio Vietta (2012). Rationalität. Eine Weltgeschichte. Europäische Kulturgeschichte und Globalisierung. Fink.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 91 et seq.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 91.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 93.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, pp. 101-2.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 110.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 107.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, pp. 107–8.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, pp. 112-14.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, pp. 116-19.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, pp. 120-21.
- ^Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1951, p. 124.
- ^Bell, D.The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties (2000) (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, pg. 393
- ^Fukuyama, F. (1992)The End of History and the Last Man. USA: The Free Press, xi
- ^Nienhueser, Werner (2011). "Empirical Research on Human Resource Management as a Production of Ideology"(PDF). Management Revue. Rattner Hampp Verlag. 22 (4): 367–393. doi:10.1688/1861-9908_mrev_2011_04_Nienhueser. ISSN 0935-9915. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- ^Zizek, Slavoj (2008). The Sublime Object of Ideology (2nd ed.). London: Verso. pp. xxxi, 25–27. ISBN 9781844673001.
- ^Sloterdijk, Peter (1988). Critique of Cynical Reason. US: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816615865.
- ^Bouchard, T. J., and McGue, M. (2003). "Genetic and environmental influences on human psychological differences." Journal of Neurobiology, 54 (1), 44–45.” https://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1169974.files/Bouchard%20McGue%202003.pdf
- ^Cloninger, et al. (1993).
- ^Eaves, L. J., Eysenck, H. J. (1974). "Genetics and the development of social attitudes." Nature, 249, 288–289.” http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v249/n5454/abs/249288a0.html
- ^Alford, (2005). "Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?" http://www.uky.edu/AS/PoliSci/Peffley/pdf/Alford,%20et%20al%202005%20APSR%20Genetics.pdf
- ^Hatemi, P. K., Medland, S. E., Morley, K. I., Heath, A. C., Martin, N.G. (2007). "The genetics of voting: An Australian twin study." Behavior Genetics, 37 (3), 435–448. https://genepi.qimr.edu.au/contents/p/staff/Hatemi501Published.pdf
- ^Hatemi, P. K., Hibbing, J., Alford, J., Martin, N., Eaves, L. (2009). "Is there a 'party' in your genes?" Political Research Quarterly, 62 (3), 584–600. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1276482
- ^Settle, J. E., Dawes, C. T., and Fowler, J. H. (2009). "The heritability of partisan attachment." Political Research Quarterly, 62 (3), 601–613. http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu/heritability_of_partisan_attachment.pdf
- ^Anonymous Conservative. "The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics."
- ^Trust, Michael. "Modern Political Thought in the Context of Evolutionary Psychology"(PDF). Retrieved 26 March 2017.
- ^Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz, Alfred Wayne Penn. Politics of Ideocracy.
- ^The General Theory, p383-4
- ^Brinton, chapter 2
- ^Brinton, CH 6
- ^Brinton , CH 8
- ^Hoffer, chapters 15, 16,17
- ^Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power, 1967, chapters 3-7
- ^ abJost, John T., Ledgerwood, Alison, & Hardin, Curtis D. (2008). "Shared reality, system justification, and the relational basis of ideological beliefs." Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 171–186
- ^Bob Hodge, "Ideology", at Semiotics Encyclopedia Online.
- ^The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom, edited by Matthew Bunson, Ebury Press, 1997, p. 180.
- ^The dangers of Music and other essays, p86
- Althusser, Louis (1971) 'Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses' Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays Monthly Review Press ISBN 1-58367-039-4
- Belloni, Claudio, Per la critica dell’ideologia. Filosofia e storia in Marx, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2013.
- Duncker, Christian (Hg.) Ideologiekritik Aktuell – Ideologies Today. Bd. 1. London 2008,. ISBN 978-1-84790-015-9
- Christian Duncker: Kritische Reflexionen Des Ideologiebegriffes, 2006, ISBN 1-903343-88-7
- Eagleton, Terry (1991) Ideology. An introduction, Verso, ISBN 0-86091-319-8
- Ellul, Jacques. Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes. Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. New York: Knopf, 1965. New York: Random House/ Vintage 1973
- Freeden, Michael. 1996. Ideologies and Political Theory: A Conceptual Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-829414-6
- Feuer, Lewis S. (2010) Ideology and Ideologists. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
- Gries, Peter Hays. The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs (Stanford University Press, 2014)
- Haas, Mark L. (2005) The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789–1989. Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-80147-407-8
- Hawkes, David (2003) Ideology (2nd ed.), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-29012-0
- James, Paul; Steger, Manfred (2010). Globalization and Culture, Vol. 4: Ideologies of Globalism. London: Sage Publications.
- Lukács, Georg (1919–23) History and Class Consciousness
- Malesevic, Sinisa and Iain Mackenzie (ed). Ideology after Poststructuralism. London: Pluto Press.
- Mannheim, Karl (1936) Ideology and Utopia Routledge
- Marx, Karl ([1845–46] 1932) The German Ideology