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To Provide or Protect: Motivational Bases of Political Liberalism and Conservatism

To Provide or Protect: Motivational Bases of Political Liberalism and Conservatism Political liberalism and conservatism differ in provide versus protect orientations, specifically providing for group members' welfare (political Left) and protecting the group from harm (political Right). These reflect the fundamental psychological distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. Conservatism is avoidance based; it is focused on preventing negative outcomes (e.g., societal losses) and seeks to regulate society via inhibition (restraints) in the interests of social order. Liberalism is approach based; it is focused on advancing positive outcomes (e.g., societal gains) and seeks to regulate society via activation (interventions) in the interests of social justice. As evidenced by specific policy positions, the domains of social regulation and individual autonomy are mirror images for liberals and conservatives. These differences in regulation and motivation suggest fundamental divergences in conceptions of the group and bases of group membership (i.e., societal inclusion), with conservatives focusing on intergroup boundaries and common social identity, and liberals focusing on intragroup variability and interdependence. Implications for society are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Inquiry Taylor & Francis

To Provide or Protect: Motivational Bases of Political Liberalism and Conservatism

Psychological Inquiry , Volume 20 (2-3): 9 – Aug 25, 2009
9 pages

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References (61)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1532-7965
eISSN
1047-840X
DOI
10.1080/10478400903028581
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Political liberalism and conservatism differ in provide versus protect orientations, specifically providing for group members' welfare (political Left) and protecting the group from harm (political Right). These reflect the fundamental psychological distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. Conservatism is avoidance based; it is focused on preventing negative outcomes (e.g., societal losses) and seeks to regulate society via inhibition (restraints) in the interests of social order. Liberalism is approach based; it is focused on advancing positive outcomes (e.g., societal gains) and seeks to regulate society via activation (interventions) in the interests of social justice. As evidenced by specific policy positions, the domains of social regulation and individual autonomy are mirror images for liberals and conservatives. These differences in regulation and motivation suggest fundamental divergences in conceptions of the group and bases of group membership (i.e., societal inclusion), with conservatives focusing on intergroup boundaries and common social identity, and liberals focusing on intragroup variability and interdependence. Implications for society are discussed.

Journal

Psychological InquiryTaylor & Francis

Published: Aug 25, 2009

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