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The Political Consequences of Intolerance: Cultural Conformity and Political Freedom


  • Gibson, James L.


I demonstrate that the intolerance of ordinary citizens matters for real politics even if strong linkages to policy outputs do not exist. In particular, the model I test posits that cultural intolerance constrains the liberty of individual citizens. Focusing on how people perceive political freedom, several hypotheses coupling tolerance and freedom are explored. Data from a national survey show that tolerance and freedom are connected. Those who do not feel free to express themselves politically are more likely to be intolerant of others, to have less heterogeneous peer groups and less tolerant spouses, and to live in less tolerant communities. Ultimately, the importance of mass political intolerance in the United States is that it establishes a culture of conformity that seems to constrain individual political liberty in many important ways.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibson, James L., 1992. "The Political Consequences of Intolerance: Cultural Conformity and Political Freedom," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 338-356, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:02:p:338-356_08

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    Cited by:

    1. Ali Abdelzadeh, 2014. "The Impact of Political Conviction on the Relation Between Winning or Losing and Political Dissatisfaction," SAGE Open, , vol. 4(2), pages 21582440145, May.
    2. Alan Arwine & Lawrence Mayer, 2014. "Tolerance and the Politics of Identity in the European Union," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(3), pages 669-681, September.
    3. Jeffrey G. York & Michael J. Lenox, 2014. "Exploring the sociocultural determinants of de novo versus de alio entry in emerging industries," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(13), pages 1930-1951, December.
    4. Robert Andersen & Tina Fetner, 2008. "Economic Inequality and Intolerance: Attitudes toward Homosexuality in 35 Democracies," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(4), pages 942-958, October.
    5. Lutgard Lams & Xavier Liao, 2011. "Tracing “Taiwanization†Processes in Taiwanese Presidential Statements in Times of Cross-Strait Rapprochement," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 40(1), pages 63-98.
    6. Meek, William R. & Pacheco, Desirée F. & York, Jeffrey G., 2010. "The impact of social norms on entrepreneurial action: Evidence from the environmental entrepreneurship context," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 493-509, September.

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