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Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics
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Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews what guides people's view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published August 24th 2009 by Cambridge University Press (first published 2009)
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Interesting look at how authoritarianism--which they define as a preference for order and a discomfort with change or difference--structures preferences on a variety of political issues (especially gay rights, immigration, and foreign policy). As these issues have become more important in American politics in the last few years, opinions have become more divergent because, the authors argue, opinions are highly linked to authoritarianism. Not only do individuals have different opinions, but they ...more
This was fascinating. It's an academic book but they write to a broad audience. They argue that Americans are not "polarized" in the conventional sense of the word. They're just better "sorted" into political parties than they were in the past. That is, most liberals are now Democrats and most conservatives are Republicans, while this was not the case 30-50 years ago. They also argue that this sorting process was sparked by responses to a specific set of issues related to race, culture, and welf ...more
Michele Weiner
This was a scholarly work with lots of charts and graphs and talk of reliability and validity. I began to read only the conclusions about midway in the book, and then gave it up as a bad job after three quarters. In my view, the authors repetitiveness was maddening. I felt like I was reading the same discussion a hundred times over. This might have been a superb 50-page journal article, but as a 150-page book, it was hard to love. The information is interesting, though, and if you are interested ...more
Ian Divertie
Another I read long ago and should probably re-read. I do remember it being very informative and I am sure it shapes my thinking about American politics to this day.
Rachael Booth
Not terribly exciting reading the book is a series of scientific studies done by the authors to try to understand what makes people conservatives and why it causes so much polarization in American politics. But fascinating reading for anyone who is trying to understand why this movement came to be and what the mindset is of the followers of political conservatism.
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