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Ideology, Psychology, and Law$
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Jon Hanson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737512.001.0001

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The End of the End of Ideology

The End of the End of Ideology

Chapter:
(p.32) Chapter 2 The End of the End of Ideology
Source:
Ideology, Psychology, and Law
Author(s):

John T. Jost

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737512.003.0002

The “end of ideology” was declared by social scientists in the aftermath of World War II. They argued that ordinary citizens lack meaningful, coherent political attitudes that could be classified as “liberal” (or leftist) or “conservative” (or rightist). 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.”

Keywords:   ideology, political orientation, liberal, conservative, system threat, mortality salience

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