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A map of the field of ideological analysis


Journal of Political IdeologiesJournal abstract

Over the past two decades, research on ideology has grown considerably. This should be welcomed, but it comes with problems. Recent advances have been made in several fairly isolated academic communities from different disciplines that frequently appear unaware of each other. Research has therefore become fragmented, rather than productively integrated. This paper suggests that the fundamental cause of this fragmentation is the lack of a ‘map of the field’ of contemporary ideological analysis—a shared framework for conceptualizing the scope of research on ideology and the range of approaches available. This paper provides such a map, based on an extensive survey of the current literature. In part 1, I describe the defining features of a number of distinct approaches divided into three broad categories: conceptual approaches, discursive approaches and quantitative approaches. In part 2, I proceed to discuss the points of convergence and divergence between these approaches, to demonstrate how this map might enable a much needed increase in critical debate and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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