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Affective Polarization Around the World: Measurement, Causes and Consequences

Parties and elections
Methodology
VIRTUAL001
Markus Wagner
University of Vienna
Luana Russo
Maastricht Universiteit

Wednesday 14:00 - 18:00 (19/05/2021)

Thursday 14:00 - 18:00 (20/05/2021)

Wednesday 14:00 - 18:00 (26/05/2021)

Thursday 14:00 - 18:00 (27/05/2021)


Abstract

Affective polarization is the difference between positive in-group bias towards the party someone supports and negative out-group bias towards other parties. Research on such affective polarization has grown very quickly in the United States, reflecting the current state of partisan conflict in that country. Despite the tremendous interest that affective polarization raises in USA (and more recently globally – e.g. Carlin et al. 2018, Boxell et al. 2020), we are only very recently seeing a growth of research on this topic in Europe. This is probably due to the fact that this type of polarization is an intuitive notion in two-party systems, where there are only two (viable) options, and a clear set of in- and out-groups (closely connected to the conceptualization of affective polarization). This is less obvious in multi-party systems, where very often a left-right ideological continuum is present on which several parties tend to position themselves. This different setting has made European scholars focus their attention on related, yet conceptually different ways of seeing political divisions, e.g. the rich literature on extremist parties (e.g. Mudde, 2013). Affective polarization, however, is a phenomenon that deserves more attention because of its direct societal implications: increased partisan bias, but also increased emotional reactivity and increased activism (Mason 2018). Recent research have shown that affective polarization in Europe is similarly strong, at least in the cases of Belgium, Spain and the UK (Westwood et al. 2018) as well as Germany (Helbling and Jungkunz 2019). In addition, researchers have proposed ways of measuring and assessing affective polarization worldwide using existing survey data (Reiljan 2019, Wagner 2020). Work on a related concept, negative partisanship, has also gained renewed interest (e.g. Mayer 2017). It is already clear that affective polarization is an important, innovative concept that will be the focus of much research in the coming years in Europe and beyond. While we now know that affective polarization is a topic that deserves at least the same attention that has enjoyed in USA, we still know little about its causes and consequences, particularly in a comparative context. Questions of measurement also remain under-explored outside the USA. Overall, as this nascent research field is still in its infancy, the researchers working in this area do not yet have strong connections to each other. There is thus an urgent need for this Workshop. As affective polarization is a recent topic, the lack of a solid and well-based research network is hampering the development of ideas and co-operations. A Workshop would constitute a first fundamental step in creating these connections and fostering collaboration. This is particularly important in the context of COVID19 where other venues for broad exchange (e.g. conferences) cannot fulfil this function. This is also an ideal time for this Workshop as many researchers are currently starting to work on topics relating to affective polarization, negative partisanship and partisan prejudice. It is important at this stage to exchange ideas on the key research agendas and to foster exchange on questions of measurement and theoretical assumptions.

Title Details
Partisanship, Time, and Satisfaction with Democracy View Paper Details
‘Down-To-Earth Citizens’ or ‘Socially-Minded Cosmopolitans’? – How Voters’ Self-Described Group Identities Relate to Party Preferences View Paper Details
The Way We Were: How Current and Past Cooperation Between Co-Governing Parties Alleviates Affective Polarization in Mass Publics View Paper Details
Information Matters: Revisiting Citizen Engagement with Facts About Immigration Under Affective Polarization in the United Kingdom View Paper Details
Personality and affective polarization View Paper Details
Validating the Feeling Thermometer as a Measure of Partisan Affect in Multi-Party Systems View Paper Details
Affective Partisan Polarization and Moral Dilemmas During the COVID-19 Pandemic View Paper Details
The link between personality and partisanship types: How Big Five traits and narcissism relate to positive and negative party identification in Germany View Paper Details
The Downsian Roots of Affective Polarization: How Ideological Issue Proximity Shapes Affective Polarization View Paper Details
Intergroup threat and affective polarization in a multiparty system View Paper Details
Affective Polarization Across Parties: Why Do People Dislike Some Parties More Than Others? View Paper Details
Divide and Conquer: disentangling Negative Partisanship and Affective Polarization View Paper Details
Identity Over Issues: Comparing the Reciprocal Effects of Identity-Based and Issue-Based Ideology on Affective Polarization in Spain View Paper Details
How Party Polarization Drives Affective Polarization of Voters in Multiparty Systems View Paper Details
My Enemy's Enemy is My Friend: the Implications of Negative Partisanship in Multi-Party Systems View Paper Details
Measuring and Modelling Escalating Polarization: From Partisan Engagement to Intolerance and Support for Violence View Paper Details
Overlapping Polarization View Paper Details
Affective Polarization Across Space: Explaining Place-Based Resentment in Europe View Paper Details
Party Polarization in Multi-Party Systems : Enhancing Affective Polarization or Partisan Ambivalence? View Paper Details
Affective Polarization and Partisan Differences in Political Trust in Norway View Paper Details
Can political discussions reduce affective polarization? Evidence from online chat discussions in the Netherlands View Paper Details
Not All Negative Affect is Created Equal: The Consequences of Fear and Anger for Out-Group Hostility Across Five Contexts View Paper Details
Patterns of Affective Polarization in the Democratic World: Comparing the Polarized Feelings Towards Parties and Leaders View Paper Details
Partisan Identities and Affective Polarization in Multi-Party Systems View Paper Details