Identity and Ideology

© Daniel Goldstein and Deborah Goldstein for Miss Wit Designs

How do you see the world around you?

  • Do you believe people are inherently good and care about their fellow human beings?  

  • Or do you think most people have a darker, selfish side that is kept in check only by rules and laws?

  • Do you think people should be responsible for their own well-being, or should society take responsibility for the care of the individuals that make it up?

  • Where do you fit in? What is your role as individual within society?

  • Why do you believe what you do? How much have your beliefs been shaped by those of others and to what extent do your beliefs guide your interactions with other members of society?

These questions all touch upon who you believe you are, what you value in life, and your attitudes toward the society you live in. In short, they are questions of identity and ideology.

In this unit, you examine these questions in greater detail, and explore the relationship between your own identity and ideology. As well, we consider the extent to which ideology can affect both individual and collective (group) identity.


  • How is your identity influenced by various factors such as culture, language, or gender?
  • How does the your interaction with various groups, or collectives, influence who you are?


  • Ideologies are big ideas about the nature of people and society. They are a set of ideas or beliefs that help us categorize how people and groups see the world.
  • This course focuses on where these ideas come from, and how they influence the actions of both individuals and groups. How do these sets of beliefs, like capitalism for example, help shape the society in in which we live?
  • This unit introduces various ideologies, and explores the characteristics and themes that help define these belief systems.

In this unit, you will consider again the factors that influence your identity, including the relationship between identity and ideology through a focus on the issue question:
To what extent should ideology be the foundation of identity?

    This unit has 3 sections:

    1. What are beliefs and values?
    2. What is an ideology?
    3. Individualism, Collectivism and the Common Good