Abstract. The article considers the main stages of formation and use of the concept of ideology in humanitarian knowledge and socio-political practices. The author traces the development of the concept of ideology as a theory and practice, starting from its first mentioning by Destutt de Tracy, then in the texts of Enlightenment thinkers, 19th century authors and 20th century Marxist theorists. The author shows that Western Enlightenment’s interest in ideology was linked with the liberal philosophy based on support of individual freedom, private property, market economy and limited state power. Particular attention is paid to the role of profound social conflicts in the emergence of ideologies and to language as a factor in the formation of ideologemes. Finally, the author dwells on the late Cold War illusions that ideologies have disappeared, treating these perceptions as a new ideology. The author concludes that the oblivion of ideology and the rejection of its study makes it impossible to form a coherent research practice in the humanities, based on the study of shared consciousness.
Keywords: ideology, revolution, civil war, enlightenment, Karl Marx, liberalism, “the end of history”.