Political Disagreement: The Survival of Diverse Opinions Within Communication Networks

Front Cover
Political disagreement is widespread within the communication network of ordinary citizens; furthermore, political diversity within these networks is entirely consistent with a theory of democratic politics built on the importance of individual interdependence. The persistence of political diversity and disagreement does not imply that political interdependence is absent among citizens or that political influence is lacking. The book's analysis makes a number of contributions. The authors demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of political disagreement. They show that communication and influence within dyads is autoregressive - that the consequences of dyadic interactions depend on the distribution of opinions within larger networks of communication. They argue that the autoregressive nature of political influence serves to sustain disagreement within patterns of social interaction, as it restores the broader political relevance of social communication and influence. They eliminate the deterministic implications that have typically been connected to theories of democratic politics based on interdependent citizens.
 

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Contents

NEW INFORMATION OLD INFORMATION AND PERSISTENT
25
DYADS NETWORKS AND AUTOREGRESSIVE INFLUENCE
46
Representations of Contextual Effects
48
Conclusion
63
Accessibility and the Ease of Judgment
76
Taking Account of Accessibility
92
Contingent Effects of Campaign Activation
105
Implications
120
Conclusion
149
Autoregressive Influence and the Durability
162
Diversity Complexity and Predictability
176
Communication and the Production of Ambivalence
190
Appendix to Chapter 8
206
THE INDIANAPOLISST LOUIS STUDY
218
References
235
Index
247

The Axelrod Culture Model
133

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About the author (2004)

Robert Huckfeldt is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. His interests lie in the areas of elections, public opinion, political communication, urban politics, and more generally in the relationships among groups and individuals in politics. He is the author of Dynamic Modeling (with Thomas Likens and Carol Weitzel Kohfeld, 1982), Politics in Context (2003), Race and the Decline of Class in American Politics (with Carol Weitzel Kohfeld, 1989) and Citizens, Politics, and Social Communication (with John Sprague, 1995). He has contributed articles to the American Political Science Review, The American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, as well as other journals.

Paul Johnson has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Theoretical Politics, Rationality and Society, The American Behavioral Scientist, and other journals. His articles include applications of game theory, social choice theory, and complexity theory. He currently has an avid interest in the development of tools for agent based modeling and computer simulation in the social sciences. He is the lead author of the Swarm User Guide, the manual that is distributed with the Swarm Simulation System. He is contributing to the development of Swarm and offers the Swarm FAQ as well as pre-packaged versions of Swarm for Linux users as well as several example programs.

Professor Sprague has written on voting and elections, the history of socialist voting, voting patterns in the US Supreme Court, lawyers in politics, and crime including homicide. His academic career has been wholly at Washington University, St Louis, where he has been chair of the Department of Political Science. He is the author of Voting Patterns on the US Supreme Court (1969), Lawyers in Politics (with Heinz Eulau, 1984), The Dynamics of Riots (with Barbara Salert, 1980), Systems Analysis for Social Scientists (with Fernando Cortez and Adam Prseworski, 1974), Paper Stones: A History of Electoral Socialism (with Adam Przeworski, 1988) and Citizens, Politics, and Social Communication (with Robert Huckfeldt, Cambridge, 1995). He has contributed articles to the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, Political Methodology, Criminology, and other journals.

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