Types of Political Ideologies and Their Definitions

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : November 17th, 2022

Political Ideologies refer to any concept, faith, or synchronised body of ideas or beliefs relating to the aim, behaviour, organisation, function, or foundation of government and related organisations and activities, regardless of whether any particular political party or group shares these ideas or beliefs. Membership in a political organization or group is included in this definition, as well as the action that is reasonably tied to a political ideology but does not impair job performance.

This article will discuss the most prominent political ideologies and their definitions and subtypes.

What are Political Ideologies?

A social movement, institution, or major group's set of ethical goals, beliefs, doctrines, myths, or symbols is referred to as its political ideology. These political ideologies provide a blueprint for a certain social order and describe how society should operate.

Political ideologies typically focus on how to distribute power and how it should be employed. While some political parties strongly adhere to one philosophy, others may draw general inspiration from several related philosophies without formally endorsing them.

The political ideology comes in two forms:

  • Goals: the ideal structure of society; 
  • Methods: the best means of achieving this objective.

Different Types of Political Ideologies

The following list tries to categorise the political ideologies observed in everyday life into different groups, each of which contains ideologies that are related to one another.

Liberalism

  • As a progressive philosophy or way of life, liberalism first emerged as an ideology. It was designed to promote freedom and shield people from coercion. Once the capitalist class gained control, they acted as upholders of the status quo.
  • According to liberalism, human development is inevitable. There is a belief that everyone should be treated equally before the law and that no one is above the law.
  • Both social liberalism and classical liberalism place a strong emphasis on the value of liberty.
  • Economic freedom includes support for free markets and private property rights and is strongly tied to liberalism.
  • This political ideology supports concepts and initiatives like free markets, civil rights, free speech, free press, religious liberty, democratic societies, democratic societies, and global collaboration.

Socialism

  • Socialism, as a political ideology, is a political, social, and economic theory that embraces various economic and social institutions characterised by collective ownership of the means of production and democratic control of or worker self-management of corporations.
  • Socialism as a political movement was born during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Plato's Republic, which portrays an ascetic society in which men and women of the "guardian" class share not only their meagre material goods but also their spouses and children, heavily incorporates socialist or communist concepts.
  • At the turn of the nineteenth century, modern socialism emerged in Britain and France as a result of a number of ideologies and social experiments, mostly as a response or protest against the excesses of 18th and 19th-century capitalism.

Marxism

  • Marxism is a social, political, and economic ideology that emphasises the conflicts between capitalists and the working class. It was developed by Karl Marx.
  • Marxism can be categorised as a social theory and a political theory. Class disputes and economics are covered by Karl Marx's theory.
  • This political ideology contends that capitalism is fundamentally unjust and defective and, as a result, will ultimately fail as a means of economic and social reproduction.

>> Types of Political Ideologies [PDF]

Anarchism

  • According to a group of philosophies and viewpoints known as anarchism, having a government is both harmful and undesirable.
  • Anarchy is the absence of a government, along with chaos and turmoil.
  • According to this political ideology, individuals can coexist in peace even in the absence of authority since human nature is, at its core, good.
  • The term anarchy has a special connotation in civil society or civilised society since it is usually believed that any civilised society would have the rule of law, which means that only the law will be able to regulate both the ruler and the ruled. Chaos results from its absence.
  • According to anarchism, recognition of a person's sovereign status is necessary for the development of their intrinsic skills.

Authoritarianism

  • The political ideology known as authoritarianism is defined by the denial of political plurality, the use of a powerful central authority to uphold the status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, the separation of powers, and democratic voting.
  • Autocratic or oligarchy-based authoritarian regimes are those that are built on the power of a party or the military.
  • Free and competitive direct or indirect elections for the executive branch, as well as free and competitive legislative elections, are absent in an authoritarian regime.
  • Political repression and the elimination of potential opponents are hallmarks of authoritarianism, which is characterised by highly concentrated and centralised government control. Mass groups and political parties are used to rally the populace behind the regime's objectives.

Communitarianism

  • A social and political ideology known as communitarianism emphasises the significance of community in understanding human identity and well-being, political activity, and the examination and evaluation of political institutions.
  • For communitarians, the desirable outcome of public decision-making is a healthy community rather than the maximising of individual choices.
  • They believe that every person has a place in society by nature. Individuals develop their identities and have a sense of self within society.
  • Communitarians value cordial discussions about societal concerns, logical analysis of topics, and detached personal judgement.
  • They contend that only when laws are founded on a moral consensus and have definite objectives will they be effective.

Communism

  • A classless, stateless social structure based on shared ownership of the means of production is what communism aspires to create. It can be categorised as a subset of the socialist movement at large.
  • In order to create a democratic, free society without class distinctions and common ownership of the means of production, this ideology argues for the dramatic overthrow of the affluent ruling class.
  • During the nineteenth century, two of the most well-known communist advocates were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
  • According to communist writers and philosophers, this political ideology aims to establish a society without states and classes.

Democracy

  • Democracy is a type of governance in which leaders are chosen by the populace in open, fair elections with full adult participation and are subject to certain fundamental laws, such as a constitution.
  • Democracy has seen significant change over time. Direct democracy was the first type of democracy.
  • A representative democracy, such as a parliamentary or presidential democracy, is the most prevalent type of democracy in use today. In this type of democracy, the people choose the representatives who will represent them in government.
  • The basic forms of democracy include- Direct, Lot System, Representative, Parliamentary, Presidential and Hybrid.

Fascism

  • The political philosophy of fascism is intricate and malleable, and it gained popularity in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Fascism was first used by Mussolini in 1919. The word, which is used to describe a militant brotherhood, derives from the Italian word "fascio," which means a bundle or group.
  • A kind of politics unique to the 20th century, fascism deploys sophisticated propaganda techniques to pique the public's interest.
  • However, this political ideology encourages the idea of inherent inequity and unavoidable social hierarchy between groups,

Nazism

  • Adolf Hitler served as the chairman of the Nazi Party in Germany and was the movement's leader. Nazism is also spelled Naziism.
  • Nazism and Italian fascism both had strong nationalistic tendencies, broad appeal, and authoritarian authority.
  • The political ideology of Nazism has oddly German origins.
  • Racism was a focus of Nazism. The concept promoted the idea that a state headed by members of a specific race, in this case, the 'Aryan' race would be superior.
  • The state was viewed as a means of preserving and advancing the master race.

Feminism

  • Modernizing the social role of women is the goal of the political movement and philosophy known as feminism. One of the most influential political and social movements of the 19th and 20th centuries was this one.
  • Feminism is a movement that promotes gender equality for women and works to advance their rights and interests. It also includes political, sociological, and philosophical theories and philosophies that address issues of gender difference.
  • According to the oppositional definition, feminism, as a political ideology, is seen as the fight against all types of patriarchal and sexist aggression.
  • Two underlying assumptions help to characterise feminist philosophy. First, there is unequal treatment of men and women based on sex, and second, this unfair treatment can and must be changed.

Liberalism

  • Liberalism is a political ideology and intellectual philosophy that emphasises equality, consent, and personal freedom. Based on how they interpret this philosophy, different liberals hold a wide variety of opinions.
  • Additionally, it promotes freedom of speech, journalistic freedom, and religious conscience while defining democracy and secularism.
  • The concept of liberalism was created by English political philosopher and theorist John Locke in the 17th century.
  • Individualism is where liberalism starts and ends. Liberals view the individual as the centre of all activity and the point of focus; they see the individual as the goal, whilst all other organisations, including the state, are merely means to that end.
  • Welfarism and liberalism go hand in hand. The notion that the state works for the welfare of the people is known as welfarist.

Nationalism

  • A political ideology known as nationalism emphasises allegiance to a nation or nation-state and maintains that such commitments take precedence over those of other people or groups.
  • Despite the fact that nationalism is a strong force in the world, it is challenging to come to an understanding of what exactly nation or nationalism means.
  • With the French Revolution and the dissemination of the idea of popular sovereignty, nationalism began to emerge at the end of the 18th century.
  • Nationalism has characterised movements for freedom and justice, has been linked to cultural renaissances and promotes pride in national accomplishments.

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Political Ideologies FAQs

  • Political Ideologies are the set of ethical goals, beliefs, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or big group that provides a political and cultural framework for a particular social order and explains how society should function.

  • The well-known political ideologies are:

    • Anarchism 
    • Communism.
    • Fascism.
    • Feminism 
    • Marxism
    • Democracy
    • Nationalism, etc.
  • Political and epistemic ideologies are the two basic categories of ideologies. Political ideologies are philosophies that describe how a nation should be governed. Ideologies regarding philosophy, the universe, and how humans should make decisions make up an epistemological ideology.

  • The principles of individual rights, freedom, consent of the governed, political equality, and equality before the law form the foundation of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy. Depending on how they interpret these guiding ideas, liberals hold a variety of positions.

  • Political Ideologies provide a blueprint for a certain social order and describe how society should operate. To download the different types of political ideologies and their definitions PDF, click here.

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