The political implementation of ideas: For a social history of ideas in a partisan environment

The political implementation of ideas
By Thibaut Rioufreyt

This article is an introduction to the special report on the political implementation of ideas, in other words the processes by which ideas are produced, circulated, and/or appropriated in a partisan setting. Alongside presenting the various contributions that make up this special report, it aims to show what the social history of political ideas (SHPI) can contribute to the understanding of the place, value, and uses of ideas within or at the margins of political parties in the contemporary period. Focusing on the study of minor intellectual literatures, it takes political ideas seriously by showing that they are also practices that should be analyzed according to a specific methodology. Seeking to analyze both the social properties of actors and the inherent logic of social spaces, in addition to taking into account historicity, this article undertakes a contextualization of political ideas that breaks with the ill-thought-out continuities at the heart of the history of traditional ideas such as authors and their works, influences, and tradition. Finally, in order to understand the uses made of SHPI by various actors, it helps to open up the black box of the production and appropriation of partisan ideas.

  • social history of political ideas
  • political parties
  • context
  • appropriation
  • uses
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