By Robert Leach (auth.)

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G. race and gender). But of course there are those for whom issues of race, gender, religion or nationhood are quite fundamental rather than secondary, so that these issues inform their whole perspective on politics, power, decision-making and public policy. Thus feminism or nationalism may be regarded just as much as political ideologies as those which more plausibly relate to class divisions such as socialism or liberalism. Yet feminism, nationalism or racism can still be associated with material interests, if not the economic class interests of classical Marxist theory.

Thus some would argue that 'left' and 'right' describe the old obsolete politics, while the women's movement and the Green movement in common with other currents of thought such as post-modernism or communitarianism represent a new politics. Constituents of ideologies The broad and somewhat loose definition of ideology adopted here rather precludes any categorical assumptions over what an ideology should or should not contain. It may confidently be asserted that all political ideologies contain, implicitly or explicitly, descriptive and prescriptive elements.

Moreover, if the spiritual authority of popes and priests could be questioned and overturned, similar questions could be asked of secular power. A direct relationship between the believer and God, without the necessary intermediary of an ecclesiastical hierarchy, was a notion which was corrosive of authority and hierarchy in general. This was a point which the Elizabethan divine, Richard Hooker (1554-1600), fully realised. If individual conscience was to be the only guide and restraint on matters of faith and conduct, then the result, he argued, would be anarchy.

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