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Democracy and Working-Class Authoritarianism

Seymour Martin Lipset
American Sociological Review
Vol. 24, No. 4 (Aug., 1959), pp. 482-501
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2089536
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Democracy and Working-Class Authoritarianism
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Abstract

A variety of evidence from many countries suggests that low status and low education predispose individuals to favor extremist, intolerant, and transvaluational forms of political and religious behavior. The evidence includes reports from surveys concerning differential attitudes among the various strata towards democratic values, including civil liberties for unpopular political groups, civil rights for ethnic minorities, legitimacy of opposition, and proper limits on the power of national political leaders; psychological research on the personality traits of different strata; data on the composition and appeal of chiliastic religious sects; and materials bearing on the support of authoritarian movements. The factors operating to support this predisposition are all those which make for a lack of "sophistication," a complex view of causal relations, and heightened insecurity, both objective and subjective. These findings suggest that the success of the Communist Party among those of low status in poorer nations is positively related to its authoritarian character.

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