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With regard to political parties and associations, de-ideologization is understood as the mostly gradual transition from binding, ideologically fervent positions to more pragmatic attitudes. It's a controversial term.

The term was particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s, for example in connection with Otto Kirchheimer's writings on the transformation of Western European party systems, with the thesis contained in them of a trend towards an all-world party (“catch-all party”) and an accompanying “decline of the opposition ”. In the course of a de-ideologization, so Kirchheimer's thesis, the major parties of the Western European countries converged, and the "ideological parties" on a denominational or class-structural basis transformed into everyday parties.

The term is mostly applied empirically to the political left. Typical, for example, of the supplementary volume of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia A – I (Wiesbaden 1975, p. 424): “In the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War there was a large-scale de-ideologization, the most prominent result of which was the rejection of the Social Democratic Party to the Marxist ideology of proletarian revolution and the socialization of private ownership of means of production in the Godesberg program was (1959). "It is often in this connection to the deterrent effect of a political religion in the sense of Eric Voegelin operating fascism and Stalinism directed. Depending on the approval or rejection of the process of de-ideologization, the term is usually also affirmed or rather critically examined. Another difficulty here is the ambiguity of the concept of ideology itself.

The concept of de-ideologization contrasts with that of re-ideologization, empirically applicable, for example, with regard to parts of the student movement around 1968 or the resurgence of religious-political fundamentalisms in the last decades of the 20th century. The uncompromising belief in the superiority of the market economy, as propagated by the Chicago school around Milton Friedman , can also be seen as an attempt to re-ideologize against the rather de-ideologized, technocratic concepts of Keynesianism .


  • Frank Schal: Between commitment and skepticism. A study on the writings of Otto Kirchheimer . Nomos, Baden-Baden 2006, ISBN 3-8329-2255-5 (plus dissertation, University of Chemnitz 2004).
  • Heinz-Horst Schrey: De-ideologization as a hermeneutical problem . JCB Mohr Verlag, Tübingen 1969 (collection of generally understandable lectures and writings from the field of theology and the history of religion; 256).
  • Hans Schulze: Social democracy between de-ideologization and re-ideologization . Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1973 (on the critique of bourgeois ideology; 28).