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The Analysis of Ideology

The Analysis of Ideology

Raymond Boudon

ISBN: 978-0-745-60552-4 January 1991 Polity 250 Pages


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This work, by one of Europe's foremost social theorists, presents a critical history of the concept of ideology. The author's discussion ranges from the early conceptions of ideology to its current usage in the works of Barthes, Foucault, Habermas and others.

Boudon develops a distinctive and original approach to the analysis of ideology. Drawing on a series of case studies, he seeks to explain how and why social actors adhere so readily to false or dubious ideas. In opposition to those views which associate ideology with irrationalism, Boudon develops a rationalist theory which helps to explain why certain ideas are believed by individuals and are thereby effective in the social world.

Rigorously argued and clearly written, this work is a major restatement of Boudon's theoretical views and a timely intervention in current debates. It will be of particular interest to students of sociology, politics and philosophy.


1. A Question (among others) on Ideology.

Part I

2. What is Ideology?

3. Is Homo Ideologicus (always) Irrational?

4. Journey Round a Table.

Part II

5. Outline of a Restricted Theory of Ideology.

6. Ideology, Social Position and Dispositions.

7. Ideology and Communication.

8. Science and Ideology.

Part III

9. Two Case Studies.

10. Against Scepticism.



'... a useful description and analysis of some important ideological processes ...' Sociology
1. The book challenges the ways in which ideology-critique has ascribed `irrational' grounds to why people often believe false or debatable theories 2. Boudon offers a comprehensive overview of theories of ideology and formulates a controversial framework for the analysis of ideology 3. Raymond Boudon is one of the leading European social theorists and many of his previous books have appeared in English