Political Ideologies : Their Origins and Impact

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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Organized chronologically, this book provides readers with a complete understanding of political ideologies and how these concepts relate to their own lives. Using straightforward, jargon-free prose and practical examples, explains the evolution of political thought over the past three centuries and describes political ideologies in the context of the social, economic and political circumstances in which they developed. Covers the major ideologies as well those at the unstable fringe of society (e.g., terrorism, anarchism, neo-Nazissm, militant civilian militias, and organized hate groups). Ideology. The Spectrum of Political Attitudes. Nationalism. The Evolution of Democratic Theory. Liberal Democracy, Capitalism, and Beyond. The Liberal Democratic Process. Anarchism. Socialist Theory. Applied Socialism. Fascism and National Socialism. Ideologies in the Developing World. Feminism and Ecologism/Environmentalism. For anyone interested in political science, political theory, comparative government, international relations.

Table of Contents

1. Ideology.
2. The Spectrum of Political Attitudes.
3. Nationalism.
4. The Evolution of Democratic Theory.
5. Liberal Democracy, Capitalism, and Beyond.
6. The Liberal Democratic Process.
7. Anarchism.
8. Socialist Theory.
9. Applied Socialism.
10. Fascism and National Socialism.
11. Ideologies in the Developing World.
12. Feminism and Ecologism/Environmentalism.


Since the first edition of this book, we have witnessed many changes in the tides of world political turmoil. The Cold War ended and much of the communist world collapsed. People were hopeful momentarily that the political climate would grow more temperate and tensions would relax. However, although the frightening possibility of a nuclear confrontation between the superpowers has diminished, we still find ourselves confronted with a threatening environment. The Middle East continues to fester; religious fundamentalism engenders violence; political terrorism has become much more threatening as its horrors have been brought to our shores; racism divides peoples against themselves; nationalism and neo-fascism emerge again, creating havoc and motivating paranoid Americans to join militant civilian militias and other hate groups in efforts to protect themselves from imagined adversity; famine emaciates millions in the Developing World; air pollution is almost inescapable; water everywhere is increasingly adulterated; the earth's protective layer of ozone is rapidly disintegrating; the globe is warming in response to the chemicals released into the atmosphere; and the press of the world's population on available water, food supplies, and other resources is now dangerously acute. These problems, and many others demanding solutions, confront us and our political leaders. To resolve our difficulties, we must have a firm understanding of our own values and political system so that our efforts to resolve problems can enhance what we hold dear, rather than sacrifice it. We must also realize that we have to work together with other people in the world, since many of our problems traverse national boundaries and exceed the capacity of single states to successfully address them. In order to cooperate in the salvation of humankind, we must learn to deal with people who have values, biases, views, and ideas different from our own. Hence, we must confront a number of basic questions if we hope to successfully meet the challenges of the first few years of the twenty-first century. What, for example, are the fundamental concepts in modern politics? What ideas serve as the foundation of our political system? How does our system differ from others? What is socialism, and how does it relate to democracy and to communism? Is fascism moribund, or does it survive, awaiting another chance to take hold in a society confused and disoriented by the complexities of modern life? Why don't people of the world see thingsourway? How do they view the world, and why do they value the things they do? Why do so many people in the Developing World appear to hate us so much that they are willing to kill themselves in terrorist attacks against us? What are the assumptions and objectives of people who see the world differently from the way we see it? And, perhaps most important, what do 1 believe and how do my views relate to the politics of my time? These and hundreds of other questions must be addressed if we are to face intelligently the political controversies that loom before us. Traditionally, the American people have been impatient with theoretical concepts. Finding such notions abstract and uninteresting, they prefer more tangible, practical approaches to politics. Moreover, the American political tack has usually been unilateral. We have either tried to ignore the rest of the world, or we have expected the world to conform to our attitudes and policies. But such a narrow view is no longer viable--if indeed it ever was. The United States must face the fact that it is only one player, albeit an important one, in global politics, and we must learn to cooperate with the rest of the world in the resolution of common problems. To do so, we must understand the other peoples of the world. We must comprehend their needs, their ideals, their values, their views. In this endeavor, there can be no better place to start than by coming to appr

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