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A psycholinguistic model of political culture

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Title:A psycholinguistic model of political culture
Authors:Harvey, Susan Kay
Keywords:Psycholinguistics -- Mathematical models
Language and languages -- Political aspects
Date Issued:1968
Abstract:This dissertation focuses upon, and attempts to illustrate the utility of a psycholinguistic model for the study of political culture. It is concerned primarily with language and the meaning attributed to political concepts. Rejecting contemporary conceptualizations of political culture, this dissertation instead utilizes the theory and method of representational mediation and semantic differentiation developed by psychologist Charles Osgood. Specifically, the dissertation is concerned with how individuals from two different political and linguistic communities--the Philippines and the United States--think and feel about political life within the context of their own native languages. The study is based upon one group of 57 Filipino college students and one group of 47 American college students. Each student was asked to differentiate 23 socio-poitical concepts along 14 adjective-pair scales, the American students in English and the Filipino students in Tagalog. The resultant data were applied to and tested in the psycho1inguistic model of political culture. The model of political culture utilized has three component parts: cognitive mapping, the way in which individuals cluster political stimuli (in this case political concepts); cognitive response orientations, the way in which responses to political stimuli cluster; and cognitive saliency, the degree to which responses to stimuli are extreme or highly affective. The first two aspects of the model were interpreted through the use of factor analysis and factor comparison. Cognitive mapping was found to be highly similar for both populations. Five similar factors emerged for each sample: (1) a political morality or myth factor; (2) a political and social order factor; (3) a political violence or illegitimacy factor; (4) a political power factor; and (5) a factor of uncertain character, characterized only by loadings of the concepts Philippines and Colony. These dimensions of cognitive mapping were found to be highly similar in pattern, but dissimilar in magnitude. The primary cognitive mapping factor for the Filipino students was the political morality or myth factor while the primary factor for the American students was the social and political order factor. Six factors emerged for the response orientations of American and Filipino college students, five of which were nearly identical for the two samples: (1) political evaluation, (2) political familiarity, (3) political stability, (4) political activity, and (5) political dynamism. Two factors were not comparable: a modernity factor in the Filipino factor structure, and a simplicity factor in the American factor structure. General results were similar to those found in other semantic differential studies, with evaluative, potency, and activity factors of response orientation emerging, but other significant factors were also found, most notably the political familiarity and political stability factors. The analysis of cognitive saliency indicated that abstract, myth oriented concepts were the most salient for the two samples, and that the most meaningful political objects in both cultures were those characterized by strength, maturity, nearness, calmness, stability, justice, and goodness. In conclusion, the dissertation suggests that the psycholinguistic model of political culture be used by political scientists for large-scale studies of political culture--to describe the political cultures of societies, as well as to compare and contrast political cultures, and to search for underlying themes which characterize the political cultures of many polities.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii, 1968.
Bibliography: leaves [121]-124.
x, 139 l tables
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science

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