Political Behavior

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 243–268 | Cite as

Psychodynamics, symbolism, and socialization: “object relations” perspectives on personality, ideology, and political perception

  • Dani B. Thomas


Psychodynamic aspects of the perceptual process by which individuals relate to the distal symbolism of the political environment are explored through a conjunction of object relations theory and intensive analysis methodology. Drawing upon the joint theoretical perspective that object relations theory and the “transference” postulate bring to bear on personality and perception, a psychodynamic account of the “attributional interface” that exists between political symbols aspublic objects, on the one hand, andprivate symbolic meanings, on the other, is advanced and the dynamics at play demonstrated through detailed consideration of selected specimen cases. The individual dynamics demonstrated in each of the cases were found to obtain as well in the cases of others holding similar political views; moreover, certain of these group-wide “personality” patterns were discovered to have “predictive” significance in distinguishing “radical” ideologues from individuals subscribing to more “moderate” political views. Finally, the implications for a psychodynamic theory of political perception and socialization are considered.


Theoretical Perspective Relation Theory Perceptual Process Analysis Methodology Object Relation 
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 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dani B. Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Wartburg CollegeUSA

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