Ideology pp 72-92 | Cite as

Ideology as Persuasive Belief and Theory

  • John Plamenatz
Part of the Key Concepts in Political Science book series (KCP)


A group of shipwrecked sailors, in danger of death in stormy seas, might believe, falsely or without good evidence, that help would come to them in time. Nobody would call such a belief ideological merely because the sailors clung to it to allay their fears. To be ideological a belief must be one that people resort to on most or many occasions of a given kind. But a belief like this ordinarily goes along with other beliefs. It belongs to a set of related beliefs to which a community or group resort in situations that recur quite frequently. The people who share these beliefs may acquire them gradually without even being aware that they form a more or less consistent set of beliefs. It might take a sociologist or a social anthropologist to explain how these beliefs are related to one another and to define the situations in which they are resorted to.


Religious Belief Moral Rule Empirical Science Ordinary Experience False Consciousness 
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Copyright information

© Pall Mall Press Ltd, London 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Plamenatz

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