chapter  9
Myth and ideology
ByChristopher Flood
Pages 17

The present chapter examines the relationship between myth and ideology in modern societies. It adopts a definition of ideology which refers specifically to politics, and the types of myth with which it is concerned are defined as political myths. The word myth makes frequent appearances in news reports on political events. Many scholarly publications on political or historical topics refer to myth in their titles or in the body of the text. It might therefore be expected that the relationship between myth and ideology in the politics of modern societies would have received widespread attention as an object of theoretical definition and debate. But that is not the case. Theoretical work on the subject is sparse. It is scattered among publications catering for different readerships, ranging from political scientists and historians to sociologists, anthropologists, communications specialists, and literary/cultural theorists. In itself, that is not a bad thing, because it could be a source of richness in diversity. Reciprocal benefits could be derived from comparing the results given by different conceptual and methodological approaches. In practice, however, it has meant impoverishment through fragmentation, lack of debate, and failure to challenge inadequate arguments.