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ERIC Number: ED266398
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Personal Autonomy, Psychological Sense of Community, and Political Ideology.
Fox, Dennis R.
Political debates often mask underlying differences in people's assumptions about natural behaviors and appropriate values. Ten individuals who had written letters to newspapers from nonmainstream perspectives (from right-wing libertarian to left-wing revolutionary communist) participated in three or four intensive, open-ended, semistructured interviews directed by a flexible interview guide. A qualitative thematic content analysis of the interviews revealed five general themes: (1) difficulty of political self-definition; (2) importance of looking at issues in context; (3) rejection of mainstream assumptions; (4) belief that the United States is a sick society; and (5) desire to influence others. Three additional themes differentiated between four Individualists, who had in common a belief in overlapping aspects of right-libertarian, procapitalist political ideology, and five Collectivists, who presented differing political perspectives on the anticapitalist left. The tenth participant did not fit in either category. Individualists emphasized the value of personal autonomy, felt immune from the sick society, and were enthusiastic about technological solutions; Collectivists emphasized both personal autonomy and a psychological sense of community, felt susceptible to the sick society, and were cautious or negative about technology. Although Individualists were generally more optimistic and enthusiastic that Collectivists, participants routinely displayed idiosyncratic patterns that require any categorization and generalization to be done cautiously. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A