Political Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 323–372 | Cite as

Groups and political behavior: Legitimation, deprivation, and competing values

  • Jack Dennis


This essay asks what might be most usefully studied in future analyses of the impact of groups on the voting behavior of individuals. A dimension of group analysis so far neglected concerns some value orientations that affect the relevance of group consciousness to voting or other political behavior. In particular, the legitimacy of group political action and of group politics more generally is of central importance. Connected to such evaluations is the character of group comparisons, such as in group-focused relative power deprivation. Also of relevance are competing political value constellations, especially individualism and majoritarianism. By the use of a variety of National Election Studies and Wisconsin survey data, these themes are explored empirically to show the extent of a group focus that goes beyond the usual measures of group consciousness. Relative approval of group-based pluralism is also shown to affect the patterns of relationships of major predictors of turnout. And finally, a LISREL analysis is presented that shows that a group focus is as important as a party focus in affecting the level of political alienation pertinent to voter participation.


Group Focus Political Action Central Importance Vote Behavior Political Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Dennis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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