ABSTRACT

Michael Freeden’s (1996) morphological approach to studying ideologies focuses on how major ideologies are based on the decontested meanings of political concepts. The approach builds on two basic assumptions – that people think about politics in patterned ways and that political thinking has a conceptual structure. Given that most political concepts are essentially contested, any given ideology develops from certain shared understandings of those concepts. Conceptual meaning is thus decontested – made fixed or stable, but only temporarily – within a given ideological context.