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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ideology has re-emerged as a vital topic of investigation in social psychology. This chapter proposes that political ideologies possess both a discursive (socially constructed) superstructure and a functional (or motivational) substructure and that ideologies serve social psychological functions that may not be entirely rational but help to explain why individuals are drawn to them. System justification, it argues, is the ‘glue’ that holds the two dimensions of left–right ideology (advocacy vs. resistance to change and rejection vs. acceptance of inequality) together. To vindicate and uphold traditional institutions and arrangements, the right defends existing inequalities as just and necessary. To bring about a more equal state of affairs, the left is motivated to challenge existing institutions and practices (the status quo).

Keywords: political ideology, left, right, system justification, motivation, status quo

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