“To the extent that ideologies are historically necessary they have a validity which is psychological: they organise human masses, and create a terrain on which men move, acquire consciousness of their position, struggle etc.” (Antonio Gramsci, the Study of Philosophy)
This article will discuss the role of ideology in the creation of a conflict. In the educational setting, it will examine a case study of a child forced to enroll in a Catholic school although his parents’ ideological preference would have been the Educate Together model. By analysing this conflict using tools of conflict analysis, and with reference to writings on ideology and conflict, it will demonstrate that incompatibility of ideologies is at the core of the issue and, while the conflict is being played out at a local level, it is fundamentally a systemic issue.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of ideology is “the set of beliefs characteristic of a social group or individual.” Dagger and Ball define it as:
“a fairly coherent and comprehensive set of ideas that explains and evaluates social conditions, helps people understand their place in society, and provides a program for social and political action.”
Religious beliefs, or indeed a fervent belief in atheism, fits this definition in that they organise people into groups in society united by their set of beliefs and values, which inherently guides them to act socially and politically in a given way. This underpins the conflict examined in this article.