Do the factors that shape a person's identity help to guide them into adopting an ideology?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this is a really fascinating question.  It's complex.  On one hand, I completely buy that the experiences that an individual has helps to move them into adopting an ideology.  For example, a Marxist approach to reality and identity might be understood by one who actually is one who struggles with the weight of capitalism.  An individual who has benefited greatly from the free market in the generating of wealth might be more inclined to embrace the teachings of Milton Friedman or Adam Smith.  Yet, I think that it might need to be stressed that this does not openly guarantee that one's experiences might enable them to embrace an ideology that reflects one's experiences.  In the stated example, someone who experiences the Marxist retelling of history might actually use this to cause them to embrace a particular brand of laissez- faire, if nothing else to move away from the experiences of the past.  It is difficult to read as to how individuals use their past or even their present conditions and factors in the embrace of an ideology, away or towards.  Another element or factor that is involved here would be the social conditions in which an individual grows up, enabling them to even adopt an ideology.  In some settings, the ideology is chosen for them.  These are all factors that play into the elements of identity formation and the factors and conditions that help them move closer towards an ideology.

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