Political Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 349–366 | Cite as

Political Disagreement in Context: The Conditional Effect of Neighborhood Context, Disagreement and Political Talk on Electoral Participation

  • Scott D. McClurgEmail author
Original Paper


Despite scholarly interest in determining how exposure to disagreeable political ideas influences political participation, existing research supports few firm conclusions. This paper argues that these varied findings stem from an implicit model of contextual influence that fails to account for the indirect effect of aggregate social contexts. A model of contextual influence is outlined which implies that the neighborhood partisan context moderates the effect of political disagreement in social networks on campaign participation. The evidence shows that network disagreement demobilizes people who are the political minority in their neighborhood, but has no influence on people in the majority. When viewed together, these findings indicate that a person’s relationship to the broader political environment sets distinctive network processes in motion.


Political participation Neighborhood context Social networks Political disagreement 



I gratefully acknowledge the comments of Mac Avery, David Campbell, Jim Gimpel, J. Tobin Grant, Jan Leighley, Diana Mutz, Thomas Rudolph, Ed Schatz, and John Sprague. The graduate students in my Seminar in Political Behavior deserve special credit for their careful read and demanding comments. All errors remain my responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

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