Political Research Quarterly

Publisher:
Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
2021-09-06
ISBN:
1065-9129

Latest documents

  • Imperative Patriotism and Minority Candidacies: Examining the Role of Military Status in Racial Evaluations of South Asian Candidates

    South Asians have seen an increase in representation at all levels of US government, from Congress to the Vice Presidency, yet a paucity of work has been done examining South Asian candidates in America. The distinct nature of South Asian candidacies allows us to examine the intersection between race and religious identity and how emphasizing different social and political identities impact minority candidate evaluations. We theorize the potential effects of racial-political stereotyping of South Asians, focusing specifically on how a Hindu or Muslim background may negatively influence candidate evaluation. Additionally, we consider whether military service has any effect on evaluations of South Asian candidates as dangerous or deficient. We test this theory with a survey experiment that varies both South Asian religious identity, political ideology, and military service. Our findings indicate that white respondents are more hostile to South Asian candidates when compared to white candidates with similar biographies, and that respondents are particularly hostile to Muslim candidates. Cueing military service alleviates this handicap for Muslim candidates, but further analysis reveals that military service only improves perceptions among Democratic respondents.

  • John Locke: The “Jocose Problem” and the Theoretical Foundation of Toleration

    Two years after the publication of Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he sought advice from his Irish friend, William Molyneux, concerning improvements for the second edition. This discussion resulted in the most substantial alterations of the Essay. Among these changes, Molyneux proposed a “Jocose Problem”—a 17th Century “brain-teaser”—concerning the ability of a formerly blind person to recognize the simple difference between the appearance of a cube and a sphere. Molyneux’s jocose riddle eventually awakened “the greatest philosophic interest” and became the “common center” of attention for 18th Century thinkers like Berkeley, Voltaire, and Diderot (Cassirer 1951, 108-9). The following is meant to reintroduce Molyneux’s Problem by suggesting its origin in the thought of Thomas Hobbes and its bearing on the role of religion in public life. After examining Molyneux’s Problem and its importance for understanding the Essay, I conclude with a brief comparison to Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration in order to stress its bearing on theoretical and practical considerations for a wide range of political scientists.

  • Value Disagreement and Partisan Sorting in the American Mass Public

    Decades ago, research described American political culture in terms of consensus. Contemporary research, however, reaches opposite conclusions, arguing that the “culture war” that now defines American politics stems from value disagreements among partisan and ideological groups. What factors are at work in this transition from consensus to dissensus? This manuscript pulls from two literatures—one on American core political values and another on partisan-ideological sorting and affective polarization—and argues that the term dissensus best describes value preferences among individuals whose partisan and ideological identities are aligned. Among others, however, preferences on core political values are largely in consensus. First, using data from 2006 and 2019 and fitting geometric models of value preferences, I show that strong value disagreements exist primarily among sorted partisans. Next, I explore possible implications of such alignments and find that relationships among value preferences, political attitudes, and political behaviors are significantly stronger in sorted partisans. I close with a discussion of how theories undergirding affective polarization and partisan-ideological sorting can help the discipline better understand value conflict in the American mass public.

  • Explaining Perceptions of Climate Change in the US

    A significant proportion of the US population does not believe that climate change is a serious problem and immediate action is necessary. We ask whether individuals’ experiences with long-run changes in their local climate can override the power of partisanship that appears to dominate this opinion process. We merge individual-level data on climate change perceptions and the main determinants previously identified by the literature with county-level data on an exogenous measure of local climate change. While we find that local climate change significantly affects perceptions and in the expected direction, partisanship and political ideology maintain the strongest effect. We then field a randomized online experiment to test whether partisanship also drives support for pro-climate policies and the willingness to make environmentally friendly individual choices.

  • Imperative Patriotism and Minority Candidacies: Examining the Role of Military Status in Racial Evaluations of South Asian Candidates

    South Asians have seen an increase in representation at all levels of US government, from Congress to the Vice Presidency, yet a paucity of work has been done examining South Asian candidates in America. The distinct nature of South Asian candidacies allows us to examine the intersection between race and religious identity and how emphasizing different social and political identities impact minority candidate evaluations. We theorize the potential effects of racial-political stereotyping of South Asians, focusing specifically on how a Hindu or Muslim background may negatively influence candidate evaluation. Additionally, we consider whether military service has any effect on evaluations of South Asian candidates as dangerous or deficient. We test this theory with a survey experiment that varies both South Asian religious identity, political ideology, and military service. Our findings indicate that white respondents are more hostile to South Asian candidates when compared to white candidates with similar biographies, and that respondents are particularly hostile to Muslim candidates. Cueing military service alleviates this handicap for Muslim candidates, but further analysis reveals that military service only improves perceptions among Democratic respondents.

  • John Locke: The “Jocose Problem” and the Theoretical Foundation of Toleration

    Two years after the publication of Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he sought advice from his Irish friend, William Molyneux, concerning improvements for the second edition. This discussion resulted in the most substantial alterations of the Essay. Among these changes, Molyneux proposed a “Jocose Problem”—a 17th Century “brain-teaser”—concerning the ability of a formerly blind person to recognize the simple difference between the appearance of a cube and a sphere. Molyneux’s jocose riddle eventually awakened “the greatest philosophic interest” and became the “common center” of attention for 18th Century thinkers like Berkeley, Voltaire, and Diderot (Cassirer 1951, 108-9). The following is meant to reintroduce Molyneux’s Problem by suggesting its origin in the thought of Thomas Hobbes and its bearing on the role of religion in public life. After examining Molyneux’s Problem and its importance for understanding the Essay, I conclude with a brief comparison to Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration in order to stress its bearing on theoretical and practical considerations for a wide range of political scientists.

  • Youth Advantage Versus Gender Penalty: Selecting and Electing Young Candidates

    Young people are under-represented in formal politics. While this may be a mere projection of their lack among voters and party members, the article investigates whether being young is a disadvantage in election processes, and if age effects differ by gender. Bridging the literature on gender & politics and political behavior, the article draws on an innovative sequential mixed-method design. Studying the 2019 Irish local elections, it uses 33 interviews to build hypotheses, which are subsequently tested on an original candidate-level dataset (n = 1884). The findings suggest that, when controlling for party affiliation and political status, being young can provide a net electoral advantage to male candidates. In contrast, young female candidates appear to be advantaged by their age but penalized by their gender. The article thus contributes to our understanding about the conditions right at the start of political careers and the emergence of intersectional representational inequalities.

  • Domesticity and Political Participation: At Home with the Jacobin Women

    The exclusion of women from political participation and the separation of private and public spheres seem anchored in human history to such an extent that we may think they are necessary. I offer an analysis of a philosophical moment in history, the early years of the French Revolution, where politics and domesticity were not incompatible. I show how this enabled women to participate in politics from within their homes, at the same time fulfilling their duties as wives and mothers. The republican home, on this interpretation, was a place of power and virtue, a merging of the public and the private sphere where political ideals and reforms could be born and nurtured. This conception of the home was derived in great part from a reading of Rousseau’s writings on motherhood. As the influence of French revolutionary women became more visible, they were severely repressed. The fact that they could not hold on to a position of power that derived naturally from the ideals they and others defended, I will suggest, was caused both by the fact that the framework used to allow women political power was insecure, and by the gradual replacement of republican ideals by liberal ones.

  • Explaining Perceptions of Climate Change in the US

    A significant proportion of the US population does not believe that climate change is a serious problem and immediate action is necessary. We ask whether individuals’ experiences with long-run changes in their local climate can override the power of partisanship that appears to dominate this opinion process. We merge individual-level data on climate change perceptions and the main determinants previously identified by the literature with county-level data on an exogenous measure of local climate change. While we find that local climate change significantly affects perceptions and in the expected direction, partisanship and political ideology maintain the strongest effect. We then field a randomized online experiment to test whether partisanship also drives support for pro-climate policies and the willingness to make environmentally friendly individual choices.

  • Freedom and the Machine: Technological Criticisms in Adam Smith’s Thought

    In conversations surrounding technology and the future of politics, Adam Smith is a valuable resource for evaluating the subtle relationship between technology and freedom. Smith explores the tendency of specialization occasioned by the advancement of machines to cause “mental mutilation” where the worker’s human faculties are stunted through overspecialization or narrowing of scope of opportunities to judge. Smith’s treatment of the development of sympathetic judgment as necessary to the practice of liberty illuminates the depth of the harms caused by this mutilation; it is the very freedom of the worker that is at stake when the development and the exercise of judgment are restricted. Taken together, Smith’s discussion of the advancement of machines and free and independent judgment can aid contemporary thinkers in understanding the relationship between technology and freedom in commercial society, particularly if new technologies substitute for the judgment of the worker or prevent the development of their judgment.

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