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The Authoritarian Dynamic (Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology) 0th Edition

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521534789
ISBN-10: 052153478X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Academic readers in political science, psychology and sociology should not miss the book. They will be richly rewarded.' Political Studies Review

Book Description

What is the basis for intolerance? This book addresses that question by developing a universal theory about what causes intolerance of difference in general, which includes racism, political intolerance (e.g. restriction of free speech), moral intolerance (e.g. homophobia, supporting censorship, opposing abortion) and punitiveness. It demonstrates that all these seemingly disparate attitudes are principally caused by just two factors: individuals' innate psychological predispositions to intolerance ('authoritarianism') interacting with changing conditions of societal threat.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052153478X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521534789
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first caveat is that I've not yet finished reading Dr. Stenner's book. The reason I'm writing this review now is to provide potential readers with information that may help in making the buy/no buy decision.

Many negative reviews result from a book not meeting the reader's expectations regarding "tone." Take, for instance, the "dummies" series. Simply by being part of the series, the reader can reasonably expect the book to have a certain tone--friendly, humorous, and straightforward. Other non-fiction books may be harder to guage. This one is very clearly academic in tone. As a fellow academic, my guess would be that Dr. Stenner has done what many PhD's do--"bookify" their dissertations. Dissertations, by definition have an academic tone. It would be pretty tough, IMO, to turn one into a "dummies" book.

Basically, what "The Authoritarian Dynamic" is attempting to do is to avoid the academic roadblocks (which she documents well) to explaining a relevant social dynamic--the basis of "fringe" (primarily on the right end of the political spectrum) attitudes and behaviors. Why do tea partiers, for example, think and behave as they do? (Since the book was published in 2005, long before the tea party movement gained momentum, she wouldn't be referencing them, but members are relatively representative of the dynamic she's trying to address.)

In short, if you're more interested in gaining insight into what is going on in the social and political sphere--especially the right side of it--and are not put off by a classical academic style, then this book may be for you. (I'm impressed by her scholarship after only one chapter.) If, on the other hand, the subject interests you but you prefer a lighter, friendlier treatment of it, may I recommend Dr.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who really want to explore the psychological, sociological dimentions of authority...in a book thay lays it out in an easy to read manner, then this is for you!
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My impression is that the author is more interested in criticizing the work of Altemeyer's and other researchers than in offering additional insight on the subject. Even if her criticism about these authors concentrating too much on the internal validity of their scales may have some merit (I fail to see why this should spark criticism), at least, Altemeyer et al. show humor and wit, and write very directly, making their also highly scientific books and papers interesting to even the lay reader.

By contrast, Stenner's style is unnecessarily academic and impersonal, writing almost exclusively in the passive tense, which makes the book hard to read.

I fail to see how her research adds anything of relevance that in any way contradicts Altemeyer's. They are both actually coming to the same conclusions.
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