Reconceptualizing Political Ideology: Implications for Conflict-Related Attitudes and Emotions
The concept of political ideology has reappeared as a powerful construct in (social) psychology. Many empirical studies have examined the personality and cognitive-motivational bases of ideology, the effects of ideology on attitudes, political behavior and other conflict-related outcomes, and the processes underlying these relations. The conceptualization and operationalization of political ideology itself, however, has received less scholarly attention. Most studies are based on a simple bipolar model of ideology that contrasts “conservatives” and “liberals”, or on a two-dimensional model that additionally distinguishes between the social-cultural and the economic sphere. The present research reconceptualizes political ideology in terms of socially shared complex systems of beliefs about the ideal arrangement of society. Based on a representative online survey (N = 402), we show that German citizens‘ alignment with such belief systems is a valid measure of ideological orientation and a strong predictor of conflict-related attitudes and emotions toward Muslims in Germany, beyond traditional measures of political ideology.