Relationships between core ideological motives, social and economic conservatism, and religiosity: Evidence from a Turkish sample

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Abstract

The “conservatism as motivated social cognition” approach posits two core ideological motives underlying political conservatism across cultures. However, there is a scarcity of tests from non-Western cultures, and much research has failed to distinguish between social and economic conservatism. Using a relatively large undergraduate sample from a non-Western, predominantly Muslim country (Turkey), we tested the associations among resistance to change and opposition to equality motives, social and economic conservatism, right-wing political orientation, and religiosity. In line with the “conservatism as motivated social cognition” account, we found that (a) social conservatism is more strongly related to resistance to change (rather than opposition to equality), (b) economic conservatism is more strongly related to opposition to equality (rather than resistance to change), (c) social conservatism is the strongest predictor of right-wing political orientation among other conservatism measures, and (d) political orientation and religiosity had divergent effects: While right-wing political orientation was related to economic conservatism, religiosity was inversely related to the latter, providing support for previous work indicating a resemblance between leftists and Islamists in Turkey. The results generally support the motivated social cognition approach to conservatism while also highlighting the importance of distinguishing between social and economic conservatism.

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