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Authoritarianism and Group Identification: A New View of an Old Construct

John Duckitt
Political Psychology
Vol. 10, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 63-84
DOI: 10.2307/3791588
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791588
Page Count: 22
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Authoritarianism and Group Identification: A New View of an Old Construct
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Abstract

Psychological conceptualizations of authoritarianism have thus far failed to contribute significantly to an understanding of this phenomenon. It is argued that this can be attributed to the reductionistic interpretation of a concept pertinent to collective behavior as a personality trait dimension which is therefore primarily relevant to interpersonal behavior. As a result, research was effectively diverted into a fruitless search for correlations with intra- and interpersonal phenomena. This paper develops an alternative conceptualization of authoritarianism as the normatively held conception of the appropriate relationship between group and individual member, determined primarily by the intensity of group identification and consequent strain toward cohesion. By clarifying the significance of this construct for the understanding of individual and group differences in collective as opposed to interpersonal behavior, this perspective allows a resolution of the serious conceptual and empirical problems plaguing the area and suggests important new avenues for investigation.

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