'Over the portal of the new world, know thyself shall be written' - Ideology, connectivity and authenticity of the self in radical left social movements

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Abstract

This article reconceptualizes ideology in social movement studies. 'Ideology' has become something of a watered-down term in the literature, and is frequently conflated with the similar (but distinct) concept of 'frames' (Oliver and Johnston, 2000). Against this conflation, I contend that radical ideologies are quests for authenticity of the self. Radical activists actualize an authentic sense of existence impossible under the existing order. To the participants of such a movement, radical ideologies are both doctrines of regeneration and revolution. This article opens an avenue into conversations in social movement theory on ideology and identity formation, as well as broader interventions into political sociology. I examine ideology as a means to foster connectivity and authenticity in relation to two case studies; firstly, the 'Idea of Communism' conference in London (where heated debates around the left relationship with 'identity politics' took place); and secondly, through an ideology focused reading of Coleman & Bassi's research into performances of masculine persona identified in radical left-wing social movements (2011).
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Perspectives
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2022

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