Individual and Contextual Constraints on Ideological Labels in Latin America

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Date: June 2013
From: Comparative Political Studies(Vol. 46, Issue 6)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 147 words

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Abstract :

Ideological labels are theoretically useful tools with which individuals comprehend, discuss, and engage in politics. Their actual significance, however, varies. We assess how select individual and contextual factors systematically affect individuals' use and understandings of the classic left-right dimension in Latin America. Using data from the 2010 AmericasBarometer survey, we show that although education, political interest, and political sophistication help citizens place themselves on the ideological continuum, context also matters such that polarization (positively), fragmentation (negatively), and volatility (negatively) affect lefturight response. Our analyses further demonstrate that, generally speaking, placements on the left-right scale are linked to individuals' stances on economic, democratic, religious, and social issues, but context matters in important ways here as well. In short, ideological labels in Latin America hold important potential for orienting citizens within the political arena, but their utility is constrained in important ways at both the individual and contextual levels.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A340876412