This entry discusses the meaning of the term ‘ideology’ and its importance for a nation. You can also access a Powerpoint presentation and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in connection with the definition and significance of ideology at the end.
What does the term ‘ideology’ mean?
Word ‘ideo’ means Ideas. Word ‘logy’ means study, science. Thus, the term ‘ideology’ in its literal meaning refers to ‘science of ideas’.
In social sciences, the term “ideology” refers to the science of ideas that act as a basis for societal setup/system. More simply, the term ideology refers to a set of ideas on which the social, economic, and political system of a society is built.
What does the term ‘Nation’ mean?
The term ‘nation’ refers to a group of people living in a common geographical place with a willingness to act as one people because of common interests and challenges.
Every nation has an ideology that shapes the social, economic, and political structure. Another defining characteristic of a nation is that it has a defined geographical territory in which the people live and act as per the collective will. The concept of territorial integrity and sovereignty of a state emerges from here.
In nutshell, one can define a nation as a group of people with more or less similar ideological identification living in a defined geographical territory with a willingness to politically organize themselves without any outside influence.
What is the significance of ideology for a nation?
In the following lines is a thematic discussion about the significance of ideology for a nation.
Identity of a nation
Ideology gives an identity to a nation. It varies from one nation to another thus making each identifiable from the others. To put it in other words, the construction of national identity depends upon the kind of ideology its people collectively follow. For instance, the Pakistani state identifies itself with Islam and considers itself the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Similarly, communism is the officially declared state ideology of China which makes it different from other states in the world by giving it a unique identity.
Determination of national goals
Ideology sets a direction for a nation to develop by helping in setting national goals and guidelines for the achievement of these goals. Without ideology, a nation would be directionless or without a vision and destination to pursue.
The basis for societal setup
Ideology also acts as a basis for the social, political, and economic system of a society. For example, Pakistan’s ideology is Islam which means Islamic teachings should guide and regulate its economic, political and social system.
Guidance in the formulation of foreign policy
The ideological basis of a state acts as a determining factor in framing its foreign policy. For instance, ideologically being an Islamic state, Pakistan supports Kashmiris and Palestinians in their struggle for the right to determination. Similarly, the Islamic concept of brotherhood guides Pakistan to establish fraternal relations with Muslim countries.
Promotion of patriotism
Ideology creates a sense of patriotism among the citizens of a state. Love and the spirit of sacrifice for one’s country stem from the ideology of the motherland. Likewise, the citizens of a state would not hesitate in playing their role for the development, national integrity, and good image-making in the comity of nations.
Determination of common course of action
Ideology provides a common course of action in times of challenges. For example, terrorism has been a common and one of the biggest problems in Pakistan. Islam condemns the killing of innocent people by declaring the killing of one person as the murder of whole humanity.
This assertion in Pakistan ideology guides people to act together against terrorism and get rid of this menace. It is in this regard that the whole Pakistani nation stands with its army against terrorism.