Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction
Valérie Vézina, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Copyright Year: 2021
ISBN 13: 9781989864241
Publisher: Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Conditions of Use
The text offers a very comprehensive overview of political ideologies. Many of the expected ideologies are covered in detail, including the main themes/ideas of the ideology, historical contexts, etc. Some ideologies could have been given more... read more
The text offers a very comprehensive overview of political ideologies. Many of the expected ideologies are covered in detail, including the main themes/ideas of the ideology, historical contexts, etc. Some ideologies could have been given more attention, such as fascism, technocracy, and theocracy, but this book offers insights to ideologies that are often left out of ideology texts, such as Confucianism. The text does not include an index or glossary, but the PDF version of the text is easily searchable.
The book is relatively accurate and only shows minor hints of bias. The small issues I have are probably up to debate between scholars of ideology. For example, libertarianism might fit better in a discussion of anarchism, and the text situates the current libertarian movement almost exclusively within the U.S. conservative movement and only mentions social-libertarianism in passing in the chapter on anarchism. Overall, however, this book provides a relatively accurate overview of different political ideologies.
The text is up to date, but will likely require updates within the next few years. As political events develop globally, some of the examples may need updating. Including trending concepts like technocracy and managerialism could help to expand the content. Despite this, the organization of the text is set up in a way that makes incorporating these future updates easy and straightforward.
The book is well-written and easy to follow. Terms are defined as well as can be expected when discussing a topic like ideology, and technical terms appear in bold followed by easy to understand definitions.
The text is internally consistent, which is a testament to the editor's work as the text has contributions from many authors.
There are many headings and sub-headings, making this text easy to assign and refer to in a lecture/class discussion. Perhaps the only criticism is that the PDF version has a few largely blank pages as each subsection within a chapter has its own page, even if that subsection is only a paragraph long. For accessibility purposes, or a student who might prefer to print out the book for various reasons, this adds a lot of pages to the total length of the text.
The text is presented in a relatively logical fashion. One critique was the inclusion of fascism in the introduction, rather than as a standalone chapter. The introduction could have focused on the definitions and use of ideologies in broad context and followed up with a discussion of fascism as its own chapter. Otherwise, the chapters are presented in a logical manner and the individual chapters are organized relatively intuitively.
Speaking purely about the PDF version, the text is relatively well done. It would be helpful if the authors had links to the chapters that were clickable from the table of contents (instead of having to scroll to the assigned page). Of course, this issue does not exist in the online version as all of the links are clickable for each chapter and subsection. In the PDF version of the text, the table in chapter 1.3.1 is distorted, whereas it is not in the online version. These subtle interface issues are concerning for students with accessibility needs (i.e. a document reader) and also those who may need to download the text while on campus because of lack of internet at home. The PDF version of the text is not as well interfaced as the online version.
The book was well edited for grammar, syntax, etc.
The cultural inclusiveness of the text on its surface was one of the reasons I was interested in the text. Including non-Western perspectives sets this apart from other political ideology texts. The text, however, could benefit from more examples and context from lesser developed countries.
The book surveys most of the topics that one would expect to find in an introductory-level text on political ideologies. Some chapters are more detailed and provide more in-depth analysis than others. For example, the chapters on Islamism and... read more
The book surveys most of the topics that one would expect to find in an introductory-level text on political ideologies. Some chapters are more detailed and provide more in-depth analysis than others. For example, the chapters on Islamism and Anarchism are both quite brief in contrast to most of the books other chapters. Many introductory-level texts on political ideology quite rightly address Fascism as a stand-alone chapter rather than collapsing the category within another ideology such as Nationalism or Populism as is done here.
The content is appropriate to the topic and supporting ideas are mostly well-developed. Analysis is accurate and error-free, and the text highlights the core themes and concepts underpinning each ideology.
The content is up-to-date and the authors have successfully balanced contemporary and canonical examples in their elucidation of the core tenets of each ideology.
The writing is accessible, lucid, and polished. Sentence structure is clear and concise.
Consistent inclusion of learning objectives and discussion questions as bookends for each chapter. The text is internally consistent and each chapter is coherent in its logical progression. The consistency of the text would be improved if more chapters explicitly considered how the ideology in question relates to other ideologies. For example, Chapter 9 on Populism does this very effectively in Section 9.2 'Variants of populism: Populism's relationship to other ideologies'. Reinforcing the relationship between ideologies more consistently throughout the text and in both the introduction and conclusion more explicitly would be a useful improvement. The book briefly outlines and then critiques the left-right spectrum view of political ideology in the introduction, but more could have been said on other, more sophisticated conceptualizations as well, for instance, the horseshoe spectrum, two and three-dimensional spectrums, or even simply a categorization drawing a distinction between the 'classical' or 'core' ideologies of Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism versus the 'new' ideologies of Feminism, Multiculturalism, Islamism, Green ideology, and so on.
Each chapter makes use of section headings and subheadings, though some chapters are more internally divided than others. The text is not overly self-referential and could be easily reorganized by the instructor to address the topics in a different order.
The text could do more in terms of explaining the placement of Chapter 2. This is a novel idea in an introductory-level political ideology text, but in its present form the progression from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 to Chapter 3 is somewhat disjointed and could be integrated more clearly.
The text helpfully includes many links that students can use to learn more about key concepts or access primary source documents. This feature is a great resource for further learning and instructors could easily build assignments around this 'go further' feature of the text.
The writing is polished and the text contains no major grammatical errors.
The examples are varied and inclusive. The subject matter is clearly addressed with sensitivity to the inclusion of cross-cultural references.
The book does a great job of covering a lot of ground. I like its separate consideration of multiculturalism and feminism (rather than combining values connected to these under heading such as post-materialism), I have not seen a book that... read more
The book does a great job of covering a lot of ground. I like its separate consideration of multiculturalism and feminism (rather than combining values connected to these under heading such as post-materialism), I have not seen a book that confucianism as this ones does.
This book is very well research. It reads like a textbook, but is cited like a journal article. I could quibble about some of its conceptualizations (e.g., variants of liberalism), but that is not to say that this book contains errors.
The book is not directly connected to many current events, so it should enjoy some staying-power. However, this could also be viewed as weakness in some regards: there could be more on how particular ideologies are reflected in the platforms, policies, and rhetoric of current political parties. This could make the book a bit harder to use in some classrooms.
The book is consistently well written throughout. The material is presented at a high level, yet it is written in an accessible style. The charts/diagrams are very helpful. There are now significant problems here,
The book holds together very well. Although several authors were involved in its production, there are no contradictions. However, there could be more explicit connections made among topics. Given the online nature of the book, these connections could also be reinforced by hyperlinks, allowing students to jump to related material. Instructors could reinforce such links in the classroom.
Most of the book would work well in courses dealing with political ideology (of course). However, the section on nationalism is problematic for instructors. How does one cover the ideological roots of separatism and neo-fascist parties at the same time? I suppose this is the nature of the beast, but instructors do not face this choice when dealing with Islamism and Multiculturalism . The biggest challenge is how to deal with chronological/historical issues and conceptual ones at the same time. Ideologies (and their sub-variants) tend to develop in opposition to each other over time. The book is not organized this way.
The content is presented in a logical sequence, beginning rightly with liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. I realize when anarchism first rose to prominence, but I move this to end in a section entitled "minor ideologies." It might be helpful if there were an introductory section that dealt with historical events that contributed to or reflected ideologies.
I have seen some books in comparative politics that employ more diagrams to "plot" ideologies on an two-dimensional access or chart how ideologies are connected with political parties. Why not include a few photos of key events or political thinkers - are non in the public domain?
This book is highly polished. There are no issues in this area.
This is one of the strengths of the book - especially compared to similar books. However, I would appreciate more references to political parties and their ideological foundations in the developing world (there is some of this, though there could be more).
The book is best suited to Canadian students. American students might need more explicit instruction that liberalism does not mean "left" At the same time, it should not be confused with socialism (in any form). European students could benefit from more tangible references to current political parties. The topic of public policy and immigration could be handled more thoroughly throughout the book. All in all, this is a fine book.
Table of Contents
- I. Introduction: Approaching political ideologies
- II. Dis(placement) and Indigenous Worldview : What I learned from Coyote
- III. Liberalism: From the "free men" to the "free market"
- IV. Conservatism: Slow change please!
- V. Socialism. Two Centuries of Social Progress.
- VI. Anarchism: No gods, no masters
- VII. Nationalism: A Modern Ideology Summoning an Eternal Past
- VIII. Multiculturalism: Public Philosophy and Public Policy
- IX. Populism: 'The Will of the People'?
- X. Islamism and its Relation to Islam and the West: Common Themes and Varieties
- XI. Confucianism: A Living Ideology
- XII. The Environment: Theory and Human Security
- XIII. A Late Modern Typology of Democratizing Feminisms
- XIV. Concluding remarks: Ideology in the Globalized Future
About the Book
Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction takes a “pluralist” approach and, in addition to being the first open textbook on its subject, also pushes back against the Eurocentric tendencies of standard textbooks by including chapters on Indigenous worldviews and Confucianism. Providing the latest scholarship on “classical ideologies” (liberalism, conservatism, socialism, anarchism, etc.), the textbook also includes innovative chapters on populism, feminism, and multiculturalism, as well as looking at the future of ideologies in a globalized world. Joining together scholars from Canada and beyond, the text also contains discussion questions to help students and readers to think further.
This edited open textbook will be a great asset for introductory courses at the college and university levels on political ideologies and political thought and philosophy, but could also be used in other disciplines, as each chapter assesses the state of the ideology in today’s world. The general reader looking for a better understanding of the competing ideological currents of our time – currents which flow into our daily political debates and real-life government decisions – will also greatly benefit from this book.
About the Contributors
Valérie Vézina (PhD, Université du Québec à Montréal) is a faculty member in the department of political science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), since September 2018. Her research focuses on the intersection between nationalism studies and island studies. She specialises in comparative studies. Her book “Une île, une nation?” [One island, one nation?] was a finalist for the prix francophone (the Francophone prize) of the Canadian political science association in 2020.
Dr. Valérie Vézina became a proponent of Open education and open sources since her arrival at KPU. She teaches ideologies and politics on a regular basis and wanted to develop an open source for students; this is how this project was first born.
When not teaching and researching, Dr. Vézina enjoys trail running, yoga and swimming.