The CPI was founded by Professor Michael Freeden in 2002 with the following statement of aims and objectives:
The Centre for Political Ideologies (CPI) is dedicated to repositioning the study of ideologies at the heart of political research, and to promoting the theories and concepts for that study. It serves as an arena for developing this growing and innovative field in political studies and is at the cutting edge of research as the world centre of excellence in its domain, and the nucleus of an international network. The Centre fills a crucial gap in current understandings of politics and political theory - that between analytical political philosophy and the history of political ideas - and is also a focus for building bridges between several sub-disciplines of political studies, including comparative politics, international relations and area studies.
Meeting the challenge
The Centre's role is to:
- develop a research agenda to address the changing role and nature of ideologies in politics;
- advance the view that political ideologies are normal and durable features, reflecting an ongoing competition within political societies over the control of political language and the patterns of conduct that emanate from such control;
- recognise and emphasise the diverse rational, emotional and imaginative facets of political debate, and the deliberate and unintentional methods of conferring preferred meanings on concepts and on the selective paths of argument they create;
- explore manifestations of ideological frameworks in formulating public policy and the political thinking of significant socio-political groups and their thought-patterns, using emerging methodologies of micro-analysis;
- examine the various functions of ideological discourse, investigating social practices for their ideological content, and exploring the links between textual analysis and other symbolic forms through which ideological messages are conveyed and interpreted;
- encourage interdisciplinary co-operation with historians, sociologists, cultural and discourse analysts, social anthropologists, and other related disciplines
The CPI is developing a programme of workshops, conferences, guest lectures, research projects, publications, and inter-university exchanges, as well as building up a core of courses and guided research in graduate studies. The Centre is supported by the Journal of Political Ideologies (editor Prof Michael Freeden).