Political ideologies - Post-ideology/Endism

HideShow resource information
Preview of Political ideologies - Post-ideology/Endism

First 533 words of the document:

End of ideology?
Within political thought, the `end of ideology' concept grew in popularity from around the
1950s onwards and was primarily advanced by the US academic Daniel Bell (1960). For
Bell, the loss of appeal of both communism and fascism in the West was desirable, as it
signified the triumph of economics over politics in terms of significance. This was evident in
the broad acceptance amongst parliamentary parties of the need for economic growth and
the decline amongst political traditions to no longer advocate their particular vision of a
`good society' but rather be more concerned with winning support by demonstrating that
they were best suited for delivering prosperity and affluence.
A criticism here is that instead of this being the `end of ideology' it was merely the
suspension of it as a category of political significance. A consensus emerged, following the
end of the war that was broadly founded on the values of welfare capitalism and social
democracy, meaning that this agreement was itself ideological. It was also established and
maintained due to differing ideological reasons dependent on the varying traditions. In Britain
for example, conservatives supported welfare capitalism out of a desire to maintain social
order and prevent unrest that had been growing at home in the latter years of the war, as
had been the case with Disraeli and One Nation conservatism in the nineteenth century, for
their part the Labour Party supported it because they believed it was the best route to
achieving social justice and equality while liberals supported it largely due to the adoption of
Keynesian economics, which advocated economic management and state intervention as a
way of delivering full employment in the capitalist system which had previously been unable
to do so. Furthermore, the 1960s saw the resurgence of far left ideas within the New Left
movement that was clearly influenced heavily by Marxism and anarchism, as well as growing
prominence of new ideologies such as feminism.
With the 1970s came another threat to Bell's thesis economic recession. As managed
capitalism was plunged into crisis, renewed support for free market doctrines was echoed in
the rise of the new right movement, which came to power most evidently in the UK in the
form of the Thatcher government and the US with the Reagan administration during the
Finally, this form of the `end of ideology' thesis fatally ignores the fact that communism and
other forms of revolutionary politics such as postcolonial nationalism were still prevalent in
Eastern Europe, China and parts of Africa. By focusing merely on developments in the
industrialised West, Bell misses out the fundamental significance of ideology that still existed
in large parts of the world. Some have argued that this amounts to a form of intellectual
imperialism by arguing that the standards of political thought and political analysis should
focus on capitalist West, it is reiterating the idea of Western superiority that was used to
justify colonialism over the previous centuries.

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

End of history?
In his wellknown essay `The End of History', which was later developed into `The End of
History and the Last Man', US political commentator Francis Fukuyama believed, in
contrast to Bell, that rather than ideas and ideologies having become an irrelevant form of
political thought, there had instead been an ideological victory, that of western liberalism.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

However, since the
1960s the ideological debate has been no less fierce and intense, but it has come to be seen
as much more disparate and fragmented as the rising significance of `new' ideologies has
opened new directions of ideological thinking.
There have been several explanations for the shift away from the left/right divide. Perhaps
the most influential is that of Samuel Huntington, who advanced the idea of the `clash of
civilisations'.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

Ideology without end
One thing each of these visions has in common is that they have been developed within an
ideological framework and have all pronounced the victory of one ideology as signalling the
end of ideology as a separate school of thought, be that welfare capitalism, liberal
democracy, postmodernism or scientism. If endism has any enduring legacy, it is to
demonstrate the continuing robustness of ideology itself.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all resources »