System of ideas that explains and lends legitimacy to actions and beliefs of a social, religious, political, or corporate entity.
Ideology and education
In the recent past, there has been a growing realisation regarding a definite need for the analysis and understanding of the phenomenon as well as the dynamics of education from a sociological perspective. It is through this perspective that we can hope to get a fuller view of education which is essentially a social phenomenon. It is also important to understand that educational practices do not take place in isolation but are influenced, shaped and, in some cases, determined by certain ideologies. Thus, to bring a qualitative change in educational practices, it is essential to recognise the relationship between ideology and education and the vital role ideology plays in the conceptualisation and execution of education. Before we analyse the role of ideology in the construction of social practices it is pertinent to unravel this term. ‘Ideology’ is an elusive term which has been used in different periods with different connotations. In the past, the term had negative connotations, but in contemporary times it is considered akin to ‘philosophy’. ‘Ideology’, in simple words, can be defined as a set of beliefs, usually entertained at group levels. Ideology at group levels can be contrasted with individual opinions in a society. A useful description is given by Eysenck who refers to three levels — specific opinion level, habitual opinion level and attitude level. Ideology constructs the stereotypes that are legitimised and supported by certain social institutions. Thus, ideology that has the backing of powerful social institutions becomes dominant in a society and has the potential to capture the minds of marginalised groups. It is this subtle hegemony of ideas which was first focused and elaborated on by Italian scholar, Gramsci in Prison Notebooks. Among other social institutions engaged...