French philosopher Destutt de Tracy originally coined the term "ideology" at the end of the 18th century to create a science that would provide a rational foundation for the study and critique of ideas. Instead, the term has become an extremely challenged and changeable concept. The term "ideology" is used to refer to a system of mutually dependent ideas, principles, traditions, gatherings, and even folklore that functions as a routine frame of reference. These routine ideas are taken for granted and used to interpret, understand, and guide values in a certain direction against those of other ideologies. Ideologies in this sense then are a species of beliefs that involve foundational norms and routines that are typically uncritically regarded by adherents.
Such belief systems are not typically susceptible to empirical verification or falsification; they are thus accepted on trust or tradition as bases for action. Acceptance based on belief alone results in conventional influences and constraints on action, including both goals and means, which promote solidarity and harmony among true believers. Ideology is constitutive of the patterns of belief and thus the behavior of a social group.
The terms of the communication and discourse by which such ideologically rooted belief is instituted becomes a code that has a special unquestioned meaning for advocates. Accepting and using such an ideological code also distinguishes insiders from outsiders. When challenged by other ideologies, insider discourse relies all the more on its traditional code words to validate and protect its beliefs. Apart from its conservative role, such ideologically support provides a significant degree of intellectual and emotional comfort fr...
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...toward the voice of the law is not a result of hailing alone, but is also motivated by a positive anticipation of identity formation (Butler, 1995: 8). In other words, by construing law more broadly the turn toward dominant identities results in part from a fear of being labeled as a social other.
Every idea and value has an ideological origin and history that is relative to its unique originating social conditions and the equally situated variables governing its subsequent development. Ideas in this sense are not mental products existing in the minds of intellectuals, but practices that result from or take various forms of action, including those of everyday people. Ideology is in essence everything that a person holds true in every aspect of their lives and it cannot be deemed right or wrong. It is a realistic intellectual strategy for categorizing the world.
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