Friday, December 17, 2010

The use of the term "ideology"

Okay, thanks to John Sides for showing me Google's Ngram Viewer. I found this one interesting:

This supports a claim Frances Lee makes in Beyond Ideology that the concept of ideology is a relatively recent one.  It was invented, she argues, in the mid-20th century by journalists and political scientists as a way to explain the behavior of southern and northern Democrats, who seemed to vote differently once in a while despite being of the same party.  Prior to that time, we really had no concept of ideology as something distinct from party.


Anonymous said...

It certainly didn't take long for this tool to turn from neat to groan-inducing. Ideology was first recorded in English in its present form in 1909. But creed was alive and well before that. Here's a tip: if someone who isn't a linguist says something like,"no word for x", they're full of shit 99 times out of 100. It's neat to see that we haven't always used words like liberal and conservative as much, but that's very different than saying that we didn't have those concepts.

John Muccigrosso said...

"No word for X" is a common whipping boy over at the LanguageLab. Try this site for a recent debate on the Whorfian subject: