Political Ideology in the 21st Century: A Terror Management Perspective on Maintenance and Change of the Status Quo
This chapter uses terror management theory to explore the psychological functions of political ideology and factors that produce stability and change in ideologically relevant attitudes and behaviors. Terror management theory perspectives are compared and contrasted with system justification theory, and points of agreement and disagreement between these conceptualizations are discussed. The relationship is explored between "external" cultural ideologies and individual interpretations and how such external belief systems interact with psychological forces to create individualized cultural worldviews. The impact of individual ideological changes on the collective mainstream worldview of a culture is explored. Also discussed is the possibility that some ideological positions may be better at providing existential comfort than others, and the conditions under which this is likely to be the case, as well as conservative and liberal ideological shifts. The chapter concludes with a consideration of variables that determine which aspects of a particular worldview people gravitate toward when their need for protection is aroused.
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