Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Weltanschauung means world view.

explanatory context

Weltanschauung is used in relation to social groups, normally social classes, and refers to an attributed perspective on the social world held by a given social group. Thus one may talk of the Weltanschauung of the proletariat.


Weltanschauung is often related closely to ideology. Weltanschauung differs from ideology in as much as it refrains from explicitly addressing the nature of domination. Weltanschauung's concern with the sphere of domination is pragmatic. Weltanschauung confronts class struggle only obliquely, when, reluctantly, analysing the practice of competing world views, thus necessarily entailing assessment of the domination process.


Ideology as a conceptual tool, has as ontological grounding, a view of the world embracing class-struggle of one sort or another. (Contemporary Western ideologies are based on worker-owner, proletarain-bourgoisie dichotomies.


Ideology is closest to Weltanschauung when considered in its positive sense, where it becomes aligned with a notion of class-based world views. In this way, dominant ideology is seen as a distorting process, foisted on society, and as a generator and sustainer of ignorance, in order to maintain a system of domination. Ideology, thus conceived, is deceptive. It aims to conceal class differences, to hide the interests of dominated classes/groups from themselves. Ideology in this sense is thus false consciousness.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also




copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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