Logos & Episteme

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2010

Daniel Şandru
Pages 165-185

The Ideological Foundations of Social Knowledge

Assigning a positive signification to the concept of ‘ideology,’ the basic hypothesis of this paper is that both what we call social reality and what we understand by the expression social knowledge are the result of an ideological projection. In other words, it is my opinion that ideology accomplishes a double purpose: on the one hand, it actively participates in the construction of social reality; on the other hand, it also plays the role of an instrument of social knowledge. To support this assertion, I advance the idea of ideological conventions that are constituent parts of the social projection of reality and that emerge as ‘landmarks’ of the process of understanding it. I provide arguments that, as long as that they are found at the level of social institutions and thus being reproduced in discourse, including symbolically – as codes, norms, rules, habits, behaviours, etc., both formal and informal – , ideological conventions are an expression of social identity, being useful in explaining and understanding social reality and its possibilities of evolving. Finally, taking into account the premise that while social knowledge is not entirely ideological, the ideological element is unavoidable in the process of configuring this knowledge (contributing in a decisive manner to the changes emerging at the societal level), I propose an integrated, interdisciplinary model of ideological analysis.