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Political disagreement in intergroup terms: contextual variation and the influence of power

Obrien, L.V. and McGarty, C. (2009) Political disagreement in intergroup terms: contextual variation and the influence of power. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48 (1). pp. 77-98.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/014466608x299717
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Abstract

In two studies we examined justificatory attributions made in the face of political disagreement. Study 1 showed that Australian supporters and opponents of Australian involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq made stereotypical attributions that justified the superiority of the in-group over the out-group. Stereotypical attributions were consistent with the justification that the supporters of the war had been misled by dishonest political leaders. Study 2 replicated this pattern with supporters and opponents of Australia's policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers. It also identified pragmatism as a dimension that dominant, government-aligned, groups may use to justify the superiority of the in-group over the out-group. In both studies political leaders were seen as more competent than members of the public. The results show the influence of intergroup power and within-group leader/supporter distinctions on people's attributions about political disagreement. They point to the power of social psychological theory to help analyse important contemporary political concerns.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: The British Psychological Society
Copyright: The British Psychological Society
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3141
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