Ideology and Consciousness

  • Anthony Giddens
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


The history of the concept of ideology has often been analysed.1 None the less, there is some point in commenting upon this history here, since I shall argue that it is indispensable to an evaluation of how ‘ideology’ should be understood in the social sciences. I shall concentrate only upon certain phases in the evolution of the notion: its usage by Marx, still the inevitable point of departure for any contemporary discussion of ideology; Mannheim’s version of the ‘sociology of knowledge’; and the more recent accounts of ideology suggested by Habermas and Althusser.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See, for example, George Lichtheim, The Concept of Ideology and Other Essays (New York: Vintage, 1967);Google Scholar
  2. Martin Seliger, Ideology and Politics (London: Allen and Unwin, 1976);Google Scholar
  3. Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Social and political thought and the problem of ideology’, in Robert Benewick, Knowledge and Belief in Politics (London: Allen and Unwin, 1973).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Noted by Lichtheim, Concept of Ideology, p. 154; and by Alvin W. Gouldner, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology (New York: Seabury Press, 1976) pp. 11ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 3.
    Cf. Hans Barth, Wahrheit und Ideologie (Zürich, 1945).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Cf. Sarah Kofman, Camera obscura. De L’idéologie (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1973) for a discussion of the cultural importance of the camera obscura. Cf. also J. Mepham, ‘The theory of ideology in Capital’, Radical Philosophy, vol. 2 (1972) for comments on ideology in Marx’s early and later writings.Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1965) p. 37.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Both quotes from Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1936) p. 76; See also Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 1952).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    At other times he preferred to repudiate it. Cf. Gunter W. Remmling, The Sociology of Karl Mannheim (London: Routledge, 1975) pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Mannheim, ‘Historicism’, in Gunter W. Remmling, Towards the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 1973).Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    R. K. Merton, ‘Karl Mannheim and the sociology of knowledge’, in Social Theory and Social Structure (Glencoe: Free Press, 1963) pp. 491ff.Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Cf. A. Neusüss, Utopia, Bewusstein und freischwebende Intelligenz (Meisenheim, 1968).Google Scholar
  13. 20.
    Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1962).Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    Habermas, ‘Technology and science as ideology’, in Towards a Rational Society (London: Heinemann, 1971) p. 99.Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    H.-G. Gadamer, Truth and Method (London: Sheed and Ward, 1975).Google Scholar
  16. 25.
    Habermas, ‘Was heisst Universalpragmatik?’ in K.-O. Apel, Sprachpragmatik und Philosophie (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1976).Google Scholar
  17. 26.
    This theme is developed in Alvin W. Gouldner, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology (London: Macmillan, 1976).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 28.
    Louis Althusser, For Marx (London: Allen Lane, 1969) p. 235 (I have modified the translation). However, Althusser’s use of ‘ideology’ does not always appear consistent. For a relevant discussion,Google Scholar
  19. see Gregor McLennan et al., ‘Althusser’s theory of ideology’ in Working Papers in Cultural Studies, vol. 10 (Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1977).Google Scholar
  20. 29.
    Althusser, ‘Ideology and the state ideological apparatuses’, in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (London: New Left Books, 1977). Comparison of Lacan’s interpretation of Wo es war, soll Ich werden, with that adopted by Habermas, is relevant here (see pp. 120–1).Google Scholar
  21. 30.
    Saul Karsz, Théorie et politique: Louis Althusser (Paris: Maspero, 1974) p. 82.Google Scholar
  22. 34.
    E. Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970).Google Scholar
  23. 37.
    See, for instance, Lewis S. Feuer, Ideology and the Ideologists (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975). For a survey and analysis of uses of ideology, see Norman Birnbaum, ‘The sociological study of ideology (1940–1960)’, Current Sociology, vol. 9 (1960); George A. Huaco, ‘On ideology’, Acta Sociologica, vol. 14 (1971).Google Scholar
  24. 38.
    Brian Barry, Political Argument (London: Routledge, 1965) p. 174.Google Scholar
  25. 40.
    This formulation is prima facie close to that offered by Barry, and some of the qualifications he makes to its use (Political Argument, pp. 178ff) are relevant here, although I shall not discuss them. However, Barry appears for the most part to understand wants in terms of ‘empirical wants’, which is definitely not my position; and he also confines the notion of wants to those concerning the ‘private wants’ of the individual, which brings his view back towards a form of utilitarianism. For a critique, cf. William E. Connolly, The Terms of Political Discourse (Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1974) pp. 53ff.Google Scholar
  26. 41.
    Norbert Elias, The Civilising Process (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978).Google Scholar
  27. 42.
    Clifford Geertz, ‘Ideology as a cultural system’, in David Apter (ed.), Ideology and Discontent (New York: Free Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    Macpherson et al., ‘Social explanation and political accountability’. One should note the differences between Macpherson’s position and that taken by the theorists of ‘citizenship and social class’. See especially T. H. Marshall, Citizenship and Social Class (Cambridge University Press, 1949);Google Scholar
  29. Reinhard Bendix, Nation-building and Citizenship (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977)Google Scholar
  30. 45.
    For an interesting analysis of Adorno’s criticisms of Lukács in this respect, see Gillian Rose, The Melancholy Science (London: Macmillan, 1978) pp. 40ff. (See also Lukács’s own comments upon his work in the 1967 Preface.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 46.
    Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness (London: Merlin, 1971) pp. 93–4.Google Scholar
  32. 47.
    Zygmunt Bauman, Towards a Critical Sociology (London: Routledge, 1976) pp. 34–5.Google Scholar
  33. 48.
    Daniel Bell, ‘Ideology: a debate’, Commentary, vol. 38 (Oct 1964) p. 70.Google Scholar
  34. 49.
    For relevant contributions, see Chaim I. Waxman, The End of Ideology Debate (New York: Funk and Wagnall, 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony Giddens 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Giddens
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUK

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