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An Old Theme Revisited: Sociology and Ideology

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

The main theme here is to combine a sociological perspective, in which we examine how sociologists deal with the concept and realities of ideology, within a historical interpretation. Two major periods in which sociology promulgated ideology are compared. The first period, the age of ideology, is the one in which modernity seems to be defined by the decline of tradition and religion, and by the triumph of Reason and Science. In this phase which extends from the coining of the term ideology to the end of the 1980s, sociology or sociologists either over-valued or under-valued the theme of ideology. The second period, marked by the end of the era of ideology, is one in which modernity seems if not to give way to post-modernity, at least to enter a new phase, in which it tends to be defined as the growing separation between reason and identities – particularly religious ones. In this phase the end of ideology which had been predicted for many years became a "historical truth." Today there are no powerful all-encompassing grand ideologies anymore which might claim to personify at one and the same time, the people, science and progress and with the capacity to dominate and mobilize society. However, even in the second period, the "modest" or "particular" dimension of ideology referring to "false representations" of specific aspects of collective life, should be acknowledged.


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