The Authoritarian Dynamic

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Overview

What are the root causes of intolerance? This book addresses that question by developing a universal theory of what determines intolerance of difference in general, which includes racism, political intolerance, moral intolerance and punitiveness. It demonstrates that all these seemingly disparate attitudes are principally caused by just two factors: individuals' innate psychological predispositions to intolerance ("authoritarianism") interacting with changing conditions of societal threat. The threatening conditions, particularly resonant in the present political climate, that exacerbate authoritarian attitudes include, most critically, great dissension in public opinion and general loss of confidence in political leaders. Using purpose-built experimental manipulations, cross-national survey data and in-depth personal interviews with extreme authoritarians and libertarians, the book shows that this simple model provides the most complete account of political conflict across the ostensibly distinct domains of race and immigration, civil liberties, morality, crime and punishment, and of when and why those battles will be most heated.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Academic readers in political science, psychology and sociology should not miss the book. They will be richly rewarded.' Political Studies Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Karen Stenner is Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University where she has been teaching since 1998. She has previously taught at Duke University. She is the recipient of the Stanley Kelly Teaching Award awarded by the Department of Politics at Princeton University in 2001. Professor Stenner is the co-author of Electoral Behavior: Introduction to Theories, Methods, and Data (ACSPRI, 1992) and has co-authored articles in Political Behavior, Political Psychology, and Australian Journal of Political Science, among others.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the authoritarian dynamic; 2. Kindred spirits, common spark: the theory of the authoritarian dynamic; 3. Manipulating threat and reassurance: data and methods; 4. The authoritarian dynamic and the politics of fear: Putting the pieces of the puzzle together; 5. Authoritarianism and conservatism across cultures; 6. Authoritarianism and conservatism: how they differ and when it matters; 7. One true people: putting a dace on the theory; 8. One right way: fleshing out the portrait; 9. Manning the barricades: racism and Intolerance under conditions of normative threat; 10. The authoritarian dynamic: implications.

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