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Intergroup Threat and Affective Polarization in a Multi-Party System

Renström, Emma and Bäck, Hanna and Carroll, Royce (2021) 'Intergroup Threat and Affective Polarization in a Multi-Party System.' Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 9 (2). pp. 553-576. ISSN 2195-3325

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What explains conflict between various societal groups and polarization among voters? Much of the existing literature focusing on mass political polarization in modern democracies originates in the US, where studies have shown that while ideological separation has grown, political conflict increasingly reflects social identity divisions rather than policy disagreements, resulting in affective polarization. We focus on explaining such polarization in a multi-party context. Drawing on social identity theory and intergroup threat theory, we hypothesize that individuals who perceive an intergroup threat show stronger intergroup differentiation and increased affective polarization. We analyze the influence of perceived threat on affective polarization drawing on two large-scale representative surveys in Sweden (N = 1429 and 1343). We show that individual-level affective polarization is related to perceived intergroup threats among the voters in both studies, measuring affective polarization using social distance, negative trait attribution, and party like-dislike ratings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: affective polarization; intergroup threat; social identity; multi-party system; survey data
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2021 15:02
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:33

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