Left–right semantics are commonly employed by scholars, the media, and politicians in reference to Latin American politics. Yet, how do citizens understand these terms and what determines the meanings they assign to them? I investigate the significance of left–right labels, as potential political heuristic devices, among and across a selected group of citizens in Mexico and Argentina. Subjective understandings of the left–right semantics were tapped using Q-sort methods. Analyses of these data reveal quite different conceptions across individuals and national contexts. Further, and as hypothesized in the text, the analyses demonstrate that ideological labels (a) reference valence issues, in addition to political actors and policy stances; (b) differ across contexts in ways that correspond to elite packaging; and, (c) vary by individual partisan leanings and political sophistication.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 21, 2006
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