Recent advances demonstrate that individuals think and act differently depending upon the political views of their discussion partners. However, issues of both conceptualization and measurement remain. We argue that some of these issues result from conflating what are two distinct characteristics of political discussion: disagreement and diversity. The purpose of this paper is to provide clarity to this literature by more formally distinguishing these two concepts. In doing so, we recommend a preferred measure of each. Substantively, we demonstrate that although exposure to disagreement is associated negatively with political participation, including the decision to vote, exposure to diversity is unrelated to participation. The evidence supports our argument that more formally separating the concepts of disagreement and diversity will help scholars better identify how and when social networks matter for political attitudes and behavior.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 27, 2016
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