The End of the End of Ideology

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 11/2006; 61(7):651-70. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.7.651
Source: PubMed


The "end of ideology" was declared by social scientists in the aftermath of World War II. They argued that (a) ordinary citizens' political attitudes lack the kind of stability, consistency, and constraint that ideology requires; (b) ideological constructs such as liberalism and conservatism lack motivational potency and behavioral significance; (c) there are no major differences in content (or substance) between liberal and conservative points of view; and (d) there are few important differences in psychological processes (or styles) that underlie liberal versus conservative orientations. The end-of-ideologists were so influential that researchers ignored the topic of ideology for many years. However, current political realities, recent data from the American National Election Studies, and results from an emerging psychological paradigm provide strong grounds for returning to the study of ideology. Studies reveal that there are indeed meaningful political and psychological differences that covary with ideological self-placement. Situational variables--including system threat and mortality salience--and dispositional variables--including openness and conscientiousness--affect the degree to which an individual is drawn to liberal versus conservative leaders, parties, and opinions. A psychological analysis is also useful for understanding the political divide between "red states" and "blue states."

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    • "RWA, THREAT, AND IMMIGRANTS' DEVIANT BEHAVIOR Right-wing authoritarianism can be regarded as a social attitude expressing a threat-driven motivation for conformity and security (Duckitt, 2001). It has been shown to be a valid predictor of conservative values (Duckitt & Fisher, 2003; Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003), resistance to social change (Jost, 2006), and negative attitudes and behaviors towards outgroups (Altemeyer, 1996, 1998; Duckitt, 2001)—especially towards such outgroups that show behavior that deviates from normative ingroup behavior (Duckitt, 1989) and therefore pose a threat to social security and ingroup norms (Asbrock, Sibley, & Duckitt, 2010; Cohrs & Asbrock, 2009). Because of an underlying perception of the world as a dangerous and threatening place, individuals high in RWA are especially sensitive for potentially threatening situations (such as deviant behavior) and show stronger reactions (e.g., ethnocentrism) when confronted with such situations (Duckitt & Sibley, 2010). "
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    • "This analysis was based on responses from the 5,410 registered voters in Wave I of this national probability sample who provided complete information for our variables of interest. 15 Along with items assessing the Dark Duo ideologies, we included a host of demographic covariates (including ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, and employment), measures of Big-Six personality (using the Mini-IPIP6 scale presented inSibley, Luyten, et al., 2011), political orientation (using the liberal-conservative self-placement item fromJost, 2006), and short-form scales assessing support for color-blind ideology (), system justification (Kay & Jost, 2003), and patriotism and nationalism (Kosterman & Feshbach, 1989). Controlling for these demographic variables provides a conservative test of our hypotheses, as research indicates that education and personality traits explain unique variance in people's attitudes toward sociopolitical issues (e.g.,Osborne, Dufresne, Eady, Lees-Marshment, & van der Linden, 2012;). "

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    • "On the other end of the spectrum, people who adhere to left-wing ideology oppose hierarchy (Pratto et al., 1994), and favor social practices aimed at achieving social and economic equality (Evans, Heath, & Lalljee, 1996; Feldman, 1988; Glaser, 2005; Graetz & Shapiro, 2005; Jacoby, 1991). Furthermore, they are less likely to hold prejudicial attitudes toward minority groups (Jost, 2006). "
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