Political Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 453–479 | Cite as

What does “Political” Mean to You?

Original Paper

Abstract

How do regular people define the term “political”? This original study gives Americans and Canadians an opportunity to express their interpretations of the concept. It identifies a great deal of inter-personal variation in terms of how many and what kinds of topics people perceive as the stuff of politics. And this variation comes in predictable patterns: the findings reveal correlations between socio-political attributes (such as gender, nationality and ideology) and the boundaries people draw around the political domain. The study also provides insight into the ways people distinguish the political from the non-political in their minds. And importantly, individuals’ interpretations of the term “politics” relate systematically to other measures of self-reported political behavior including political interest and frequency of political discussion. These results can be used to refine survey analysis and to broaden knowledge of day-to-day citizen politics.

Keywords

The political Categorization Comparative political behavior Validity United States Canada 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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