I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.
When it comes to the division in politics according to the right and left wing, the popularity for either of these two seems to follow a continuous cycle. However, the constant phase shifts in this cycle are not entirely clear, and sometimes difficult to determine. Generally speaking, leftist views include ideas related to liberalism and right wing voters are more likely to support conservative ideas. According to Carmines and D’amico (2015), liberals are more likely to be in favor of redistribution within society through social services, and they are also more supportive of progressive ideas. Whereas right wing supporters tend to be more conservative and hold more traditional views, this also includes that the government intervention should stay minimum.
There are different theories on what shapes people’s political views, these include: life events, values people hold, and dispositions. First of all, in terms of life events, it has been found that individuals who experienced a type of economic crisis (e.g. a recession) are more likely to hold leftist views (Giuliano & Spilimbergo, 2014). Therefore, from this finding, one could argue that life events could influence people’s political views.
Second, in regard to values, Graham et al (2012) developed five different values that can be attributed to both political ideologies, fairness, harm, authority, loyalty, and purity. Liberal ideologues tend to find fairness and caring for others of importance, while conservative views relied on all five values, care, authority, fairness, loyalty, and purity. Nevertheless, how these values are interpreted is different for both sides. Right wing supporters, or conservatives, see fairness as not breaking the law, but they are less bothered by the equability (Haidt, Graham, Joseph, 2009).
Third, apart from the life events people endured or the fundamental values they hold, there are more important dimension to how people’s political beliefs could be shaped. Research has found that certain aspects of disposition could ultimately influence people’s stances on important issues. For instance, it has been found conservatism is linked to intolerance to ambiguity and heightened perception of a dangerous world (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, Sulloway, 2013). The same study found right-wing authoritarianism to be negatively correlated to openness to experience. Those who score high on openness to experience might be more interested in learning about new cultures (Lall & Sharma, 2009). Thus an individual’s disposition can be a factor in their political views.
Largely, there seems to be a consensus that right-wing politics are gaining ground, with some, more than often, controversial right-wing candidates gaining popularity in a myriad of countries. These include Donald Trump in the United States, Marine Le Pen in France, Norbert Hofer in Austria, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Frauke Petry in Germany. Among these right-wing politicians there seems to be at least one similarity, and that is their stance on immigration policies. Aside from the three dimensions mentioned that could influence people’s left or right wing preferences, there could be other underlying processes that sparked new popularity for right-wing parties. What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties? In this review, recent research will be explored to find answers to the aforementioned question.
I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Carmines, E. G., & D’Amico, N. J. (2015). The new look in political ideology research. Annual Review of Political Science, 18, 205-216.
Giuliano, P., & Spilimbergo, A. (2014). Growing up in a Recession. The Review of Economic Studies, 81(2), 787-817.
Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2012). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming.
Jost, J. T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Sulloway, F. J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological bulletin, 129(3), 339.
Lall, M. & Sharma, S. (2009). Personal growth and training and development. New Dehli: Excel Books.