GIR Colloquium Series | The Social Nature of Partisan Identity

10 May, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


There is growing evidence that partisanship is a powerful social identity in both US and Western Europe democracies. This holds both good and bad normative news. On one hand, strong partisans are defensive, conform to party norms, and dislike partisans of competing parties. On the other, they are more politically engaged and are especially likely to get involved in election campaigns working on behalf of their party. In this experimental study, we explore the conditions under which partisan animosity can be ameliorated without undermining strong partisan identities, contrasting two key approaches to the study of partisanship.

From an instrumental perspective, the growing negativity between Democrats and Republicans is due to increased ideological differences between the parties. In contrast, an expressive approach attributes the origins of partisan antipathy to the protection of group status in response to partisan threats and insults (Huddy et al 2005). In the current experiment, 300 MTurk workers are exposed to information that Democrat and Republican leaders have amicable or hostile relations, and that Republicans and Democrats are in conflict or agreement over a key policy issue.


About the speaker:

Leonie Huddy is a Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. She is the co-editor (with David O. Sears and Jack Levy) of the 2nd edition of the Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, served as co-editor of the journal Political Psychology from 2005 till 2010, is past-president of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), serves on the American National Election Studies Board of Overseers, appears regularly on CSB Radio as an exit poll analyst, and serves on numerous editorial boards in political science. Huddy has written extensively on social and political identities, emotions, reactions to terrorism, gender and politics, and race relations. She is the co-author (with Stanley Feldman and George Marcus) of the forthcoming book Going to War in Iraq: When Citizens and the Press Matter published by the University of Chicago Press.

Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney