A Second Look at the Relationship between Cultural Theory, Political Ideology, and Political Knowledge

45 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2011 Last revised: 25 Jul 2015

Joseph T. Ripberger

University of Oklahoma

Geoboo Song

University of Arkansas

Matthew Nowlin

College of Charleston

Michael D. Jones

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

University of Oklahoma - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 9, 2011

Abstract

Numerous scholars have employed Cultural Theory (CT) to explain preferences, opinions, and risk perceptions across an array of issues. Recent research by Michaud, Carlisle, & Smith (2009) challenges the CT approach in two critical ways: first, they find that people with low levels of political knowledge are unable to recognize the latent dimensionality of egalitarianism and individualism, which are two of the four worldviews proposed by CT; second, they find that people with high levels of political knowledge treat these two dimensions as if they were opposite ends of a single scale of political ideology. This article presents a quasi-replication and extension of their study using a nationwide sample of 4,387 respondents in which measures of all four dimensions of CT were collected. We find that: 1) people with low levels of political knowledge are able to sort egalitarianism and individualism into coherent worldviews; 2) people with high levels of political knowledge do not collapse egalitarianism and individualism onto a single scale of political ideology; 3) all groups of people, regardless of political knowledge, are able to recognize all four dimensions of CT.

Suggested Citation

Ripberger, Joseph T. and Song, Geoboo and Nowlin, Matthew and Jones, Michael D. and Jenkins-Smith, Hank C., A Second Look at the Relationship between Cultural Theory, Political Ideology, and Political Knowledge (June 9, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1861213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1861213

Joseph T. Ripberger (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma ( email )

307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
United States

Geoboo Song

University of Arkansas ( email )

Old Main 437
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Matthew Nowlin

College of Charleston ( email )

66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States

Michael D. Jones

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

University of Oklahoma - Department of Political Science ( email )

307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
United States

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