Which Plays the Major Role in Politics? Identity or Ideology?

Image Credit: voicesofyouth.org

Politics is an interesting subject to read, to talk, to gossip around, and so on. Politics involves taking decisions which should benefit the people of the country/state. A politician should have organized control over all the activities he/she do with the governance.

Politics is an art or science of the government. Politicians should have an identity to contest and win in the elections. Also, they should possess their ideologies to gain the trust of the people. So, when it comes to an individual politician, what plays a significant role to stay relevant for all the seasons? Is it his/her identity, or is it his/her ideology?

Let’s see the difference

Ideology Politics

Political ideology is a conceptual interpretation of ideas, beliefs, values and opinions exhibiting a politician’s or political party’s plans of action for the public. It is an attempt to justify, explain, contest or change the social and political arrangements and possesses a political community of the country or state.

If we have to classify the ideologies, then we can divide ideology into three types – left, centre and right wing politics

  1. The left wingers are typically opposed to free-market capitalism, imperialism, secularism, and adopt a socially liberal stance.
  2. The centrists adopt a liberal ideology where neither the market nor the government is considered as supreme. The concept of centrists emerged in the 20th century and is also known as ‘liberals’.
  3. The right wingers are typically opposed to communism, state intervention in markets, and adopt a conservative in social and religious issues.

Identity Politics

Identity politics is the tendency to promote a particular people religion, ethnicity, social and cultural interest to form an exclusive political alliance instead of engaging in traditional politics. Identity politics can be referred to as to promote their interests to a particular group instead of concentrating on a broader set of people.

People who do Identity politics typically want to reclaim their identity for greater self-determination and more political freedom by challenging the externally imposed belief systems or party affiliations.

Identity is used as a tool to gain power and recognition among their group aiming to frame political claims and promote their political ideologies that usually do justice only to their particular group.

Comparison between ideology and identity politics

Surprisingly, both ideology and identity are as old as politics of India itself. The irony is people who believe in ideology politics are called intellectuals and people who support identity politics are termed as left, centred or right wingers.

Interestingly, ideology and identity politics are the two faces of the same coin. People have to have an ideology to stay relevant in politics, and without identity, one cannot win their elections. So politically, both are important and plays a significant role in politics.


The point is without an ideology, a politician has no place in politics, and without his/her identity, no politician can survive in politics.


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