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The representation of ideologies during parliamentary debates


The representation of ideologies during parliamentary debates This paper examines the representation of (neo-)liberalism and socialism as ideologies during parliamentary debates in the House of Commons since John Major. First of all, an overview of the different ways those two doctrinal concepts are represented will provide an insight in the strategies adopted by the parliamentary groups. It ranges from the sheer and overt promotion of one's ideology at the Dispatch Box to the violent attacks against one's opponent's ideologies, thereby defining one's own through this opposition. (neo-)Liberalism and socialism will be alternaltively railed against by one party and praised unreservedly by the other. However, things can get more complicated when one party departs from its own ideological convictions by adopting one's opponent's doctrinal postures, the war of ideologies is waged without restraint. This proves that ideologies can be flexible and have sometimes to adapt to new social and political configurations (a process that can be objected to by members of the party fearing an alteration of the core identity of their poltical group). Then a second section will analyse the effects of such discursive depictions of the parties' own values and principles. It will be argued that those representations are "not exact representation of an ideolgical reality, but symbolic reconstruction of it" and as such have specific purposes. Ideologies are turned into symbolic objects that make it much "easier for people to treat concepts as things". Ideological lines are deliberately reified and that begs the question of whether ideologies are mere tools to manipulate voters.
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hal-03255085 , version 1 (23-07-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03255085 , version 1


Stéphane Revillet. The representation of ideologies during parliamentary debates. Ideologies and Identities virtual conference, Jun 2021, online, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-03255085⟩


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