The paradox of order: reimagining ideological domination

Bloom, Peter and Dallyn, Sam (2011). The paradox of order: reimagining ideological domination. Journal of Political Ideologies, 16(1) pp. 53–78.



In contemporary political theory, the analysis of politics and social relations rests predominantly on a problematic opposition between openness and closure, reflected concretely around the normative poles of pluralism and stability. The principal aim of this paper is to show how openness and pluralism work actually to strengthen a given social order. Where as past models stress the ‘closed’ character of ideology, we contend instead, drawing on the War on Terror as a key example, that social relations are stabilized and ideological domination occurs through the allowance for certain pluralisms and political choices over others. Specifically, openness, manifested concretely in pluralism as its practical instantiation, is politically delimited in such a way that it serves to institute and maintain social order. The central claim therefore is that political pluralism stabilizes social relations and determinations of the self around fixed points of contestation. This insight in turn begins to build the way for a dynamic rethinking of social order in relation to the two poles of openness/pluralism and closure/stability.

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