What’s Left and Who’s Right? A Q-method Study of Individual and Contextual Influences on the Meaning of Ideological Labels

What’s Left and Who’s Right? A Q-method Study of Individual and Contextual Influences on the... 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

What’s Left and Who’s Right? A Q-method Study of Individual and Contextual Influences on the Meaning of Ideological Labels

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-006-9006-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 21, 2006

References

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