Here is a list of ways the concept of ideology has been treated in recent decades, according to Terry Eagleton. Note that this is more up-to-date than most lists. You will see some overlap or similarities with my list, but this one more readily identifies a variety of more refined and elaborated positions by various thinkers.

a) the process of production of meanings, signs and value in social life;
b) a body of ideas characteristic of a particular social group or class;
c) ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power;
d) false ideas which help to legitimate a dominant political power;
e) systematically distorted communication;
f) that which offers a position for a subject;
g) forms of thought motivated by social interests;
h) identity thinking;
i) socially necessary illusion;
j) the conjuncture of discourse and power;
k) the medium in which conscious social actors make sense of their world;
l) action-oriented sets of beliefs;
m) the confusion of linguistic and phenomenal reality;
n) semiotic closure;
o) the indispensable medium in which individuals live out their relation to a social structure;
p) the process whereby said life is converted to a natural reality.

SOURCE: Eagleton, Terry. Ideology: An Introduction (London: Verso, 1991), pp. 1-2.

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Uploaded 26 August 2001

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