Send to

Choose Destination
Am Psychol. 2007 Dec;62(9):1075-6.

Ideology as instrument.

Author information

Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Comments on the article by J. T. Jost, which argued that the end-of-ideology claims that emerged in the aftermath of World War II were both incorrect and detrimental to the field of political psychology. M. Glassman and D. Karno make three critical points. First, Jost objectified ideology as a grand strategy implemented at the individual level, rather than as an instrument used for a specific purpose in activity. In doing so, he set ideology up as an "object" that guides human behavior rather than as a rational part of human experience. Second, they take issue with the idea that, because somebody acts in a manner that can be categorized as ideological, there actually is such a thing as ideology separate from that event and/or political experience and that psychologists ought to understand the meaning of ideology in order to understand future human activities as outside observers. Third, Jost seems to see this objective ideology as a unidirectional, causal mechanism for activity, a mechanism that assumes individuals act according to ideology, which eclipses the possibility that immediate ideological positions are the residue of purposeful activity. Glassman and Karno suggest that it may be better to take a pluralistic view of ideology in human action. Where ideology does exist, it is as a purposeful instrument--part of a logically based action to meet some ends-in-view--a mixture of immediate goals tied to secondary belief systems (which have been integrated to serve the material purposes of the purveyors of these ideologies). So if we are to understand ideology, we can only understand it through its use in human activity.

Comment on

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center