Political myth

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A political myth is an ideological explanation for a political phenomenon that is believed by a social group.

In 1975, Henry Tudor defined it in the book Political Myth. He said myths are believed to be true -- though they may be false -- and are devices with dramtic constructions used "in order to come to grips with reality". Political myths simply deal with political topics, and always use a group of people as the hero or protagonist.[1] In 2001, Christopher G. Flood described a working definition of a political myth as "an ideologically marked narrative which purports to give a true account of a set of past, present, or predicted political events and which is accepted as valid in its essentials by a social group".[2]

Examples cited as political myths include Manifest destiny,[3] The Clash of Civilizations,[4] and national myths.[5]

In 1973, T.L. Thorson wrote in the 4th edition of A History of Political Theory: "It is the mark of a modern mind to be able to explicitly create a 'myth' as a way of influencing others (as, for example, Plato does in The Republic). In it original sense myth is a literal description.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Niemann, Yolanda Flores; Armitage, Susan; Hart, Patricia et al., eds. (2002). Chicana leadership: the Frontiers reader. University of Nebraska Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-8032-8382-2. 
  2. ^ Flood, Christopher (2001). Political Myth. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 0-415-93632-2. 
  3. ^ Bass, J.D. & Cherwitz R.A. (1978). "Imperial mission and manifest destiny: A case study of political myth in rhetorical discourse". Southern Speech Communication Journal (Routledge) 43: 213–32. 
  4. ^ Chiara Bottici & Benoît Challand (August 2006). "Rethinking Political Myth; The Clash of Civilizations as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy". European Journal of Social Theory 9 (3): 315–36. doi:10.1177/1368431006065715. 
  5. ^ David Archard (September 1995). "Myths, Lies and Historical Truth: a Defence of Nationalism". Political Studies (John Wiley & Sons) 43 (3): 472–81. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.1995.tb00315.x. 
  6. ^ T.L. Thorson (1973) A History of Political Theory, 4th edition, page 14

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