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Luca Versteegen @ Hot Politics Lab

June 24, 2022 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm

In this Graduate Friday session of the Hot Politics Lab, PhD candicate Luca Versteegen (Gothenburg University) will give a talk titled “We Love, They Hate: How Radical Right Voters Use Emotion Narratives to Consolidate Affective Polarization”.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and everbody is welcome to join via Zoom: https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/96492065253  at 3pm (CET).

Abstracts:

We Love, They Hate: How Radical Right Voters Use Emotion Narratives to Consolidate Affective Polarization (Luca Versteegen)

Western societies experience intense affective polarization. A burgeoning body of literature documents the causes and consequences of this tendency to love like-minded and hate opposing partisans. But what is the individual’s role in that? Following a social identity approach, I argue that partisans are motivated to consolidate affective polarization to establish distinct ingroups that are superior to outgroups. Therefore, they tell emotion narratives that a) ascribe socially desirable emotions to the ingroup, b) ascribe socially undesirable emotions to the outgroup, and c) maximize the contrast between both groups’ emotional experiences. I examine and illustrate these strategies through a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with radical right voters, around whom affective polarization is particularly strong. The results show that partisans use a variety of emotion narratives to consolidate affective polarization. This paper emphasizes an individual’s responsibility in affective polarization and closes by raising avenues for future investigations of this argument.