List of Political Ideologies

This is a list of political ideologies. Many political parties base their political action and election program on an ideology. In social studies, a political ideology is a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines, myths or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, and or large group that explains how society should work, and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. A political ideology largely concerns itself with how to allocate power and to what ends it should be used. Some parties follow a certain ideology very closely, while others may take broad inspiration from a group of related ideologies without specifically embracing any one of them. The popularity of an ideology is in part due to the influence of moral entrepreneurs, who sometimes act in their own interests.

Political ideologies have two dimensions:

  1. Goals: How society should be organized.
  2. Methods: The most appropriate way to achieve this goal.

An ideology is a collection of ideas. Typically, each ideology contains certain ideas on what it considers to be the best form of government (e.g. democracy, autocracy, etc.), and the best economic system (e.g. capitalism, socialism, etc.). Sometimes the same word is used to identify both an ideology and one of its main ideas. For instance, "socialism" may refer to an economic system, or it may refer to an ideology which supports that economic system.

Ideologies also identify themselves by their position on the political spectrum (such as the left, the centre or the right), though this is very often controversial. Finally, ideologies can be distinguished from political strategies (e.g. populism) and from single issues that a party may be built around (e.g. opposition to European integration or the legalization of marijuana).

The following list attempts to divide the ideologies found in practical political life into a number of groups; each group contains ideologies that are related to each other. The headers refer to names of the best-known ideologies in each group. The names of the headers do not necessarily imply some hierarchical order or that one ideology evolved out of the other. They are merely noting the fact that the ideologies in question are practically, historically and ideologically related to each other. Note that one ideology can belong to several groups, and there is sometimes considerable overlap between related ideologies. Also, keep in mind that the meaning of a political label can differ between countries and that parties often subscribe to a combination of ideologies.

The list is strictly alphabetical. Thus, placing one ideology before another does not imply that the first is more important or popular than the second.

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    Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937)