Idea-ology: Musings on Belief Systems

The Liberator

This article first appeared in The Narrative Issue.

Written by: Elizabeth Teare

Ideology. From Greek idea, a form or pattern. From Greek logos, discourse or compilation.

Merriam Webster defines ideology as a “visionary theorizing; a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture”. Slavoj Zizek, author of TheSublime Object of Ideology, associates ideologies with metanarratives, grand stories that mark societies.

Though they might originally have economic, political, societal or religious groundings, ideologies attempt to explain all aspects of human life. In forming ideologies, we look into our past—as feminism does when criticizing the patriarchy—in order to make sense of the present. The danger then lies when we fantasize the future, as Trump has done while claiming to “Make America Great Again.” Zizek comments on such ideologies, noting it “is not that bad people do bad things — they always do. It’s that…

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