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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Center for Research in Society and Politics provides a forum for faculty and students from Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology and Communication Studies who study mass politics and participation, race and ethnicity, and the mass media from overlapping and complementary perspectives. The Center is committed to three programs which use the talents and skills of its diverse faculty.

The LACSS is conducted each year to measure the perceptions, beliefs, and enduring orientations that shape current attitudes toward issues such as crime, immigration, intergroup relations, racial policies, and local and national politics. Topics vary from year to year. The 2002 survey focused on intergroup relations in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

CRISP sponsors a seminar series that provides an opportunity for UCLA faculty and graduate students to discuss research conducted by visiting scholars as well as by each other. A working paper series based on the research of faculty, graduate associates, and seminar and colloguium presenters is also provided by the Center.

Using the Los Angeles County Social Survey as a resource, undergraduate students learn survey research techniques in upper-division courses in public opinion, voting, mass communications, political psychology, race attitudes, and survey data analysis.

Center for Research in Society and Politics

There are 11 publications in this collection, published between 1996 and 2002.
Recent Work (11)

Is It Really Racism? The Origins of White Americans' Opposition to Race-Targeted Policies

We address the role of racial antagonism in whites’ opposition to racially-targeted policies. The data come from four surveys selected for their unusually rich measurement of both policy preferences and other racial attitudes: the 1986 and 1992 National Election Studies, the 1994 General Social Survey, and the 1995 Los Angeles County Social Survey. They indicate that such opposition is more strongly rooted in racial antagonism than in non-racial conservatism, that whites tend to respond to quite different racial policies in similar fashion, that racial attitudes affect evaluations of black and ethnocentric white presidential candidates, and that their effects are just as strong among college graduates as among those with no college education. Second, we present evidence that symbolic racism is consistently more powerful than older forms of racial antagonism, and its greater strength does not diminish with controls on non-racial ideology, partisanship, and values. The origins of symbolic racism lie partly in both anti-black antagonism and non-racial conservative attitudes and values, and so mediates their effects on policy preferences, but it explains substantial additional variance by itself, suggesting that it does represent a new form of racism independent of older racial and political attitudes. The findings are each replicated several times with different measures, in different surveys conducted at different times. We also provide new evidence in response to earlier critiques of research on symbolic racism.

The Persistence of the Past: The Class of 1965 Turns Fifty

This paper revisits the linked questions of attitudinal crystallization and generational formation in an attempt to nudge the understanding of these matters forward. Our goal, put most generally, is to bring ideas about the formation of political generations into an analysis of the long-term dynamics of attitude crystallization. Although scholars have quite often tried to trace the long-term development of political generations, and often employ comparison groups (e.g., Alwin, Cohen, and Newcomb 1991, Cole, Zucker, and Ostrove 1998, Elder 1974, Fendrich and Lovoy 1988, Jennings 1987, Markus 1979, Stewart, Settles, and Winter 1998), less common are analyses of attitudinal crystallization that bring ideas about political generations to bear. We do this in the paper in two ways.

First, our analysis distinguishes within an age-cohort between those who were politically engaged and those who were politically unengaged during their early adult, and presumably politically formative, years. The former resemble the "generational unit" Mannheim (1952) described far better than does the age-cohort as a whole. We explore the importance of this distinction to how attitudinal stability and constraint develop over time.

Second, we compare age cohorts to suggest how the crystallization process produces age-related differences in the response to political events. Age, in this analysis is treated as a marker both of political experience and of political generation. This effort demonstrates how the unfolding of political history can influence the extent to which attitudes crystallize within a political generation.

Reformulating the Party Coalitions: The "Christian Democratic" Republicans

The party coalitions that emerged from the New Deal realignment were defined by race, nationality and ethnicity, religion, region, and social class. In the last decade, the "religious impulse" has become an increas-ingly important aspect of the party coalitions as Republican and Demo-cratic identifiers have become increasingly distinct in terms of their re-ligiosity and religious practice. The paper traces the increasing impor-tance of religiosity and social class as correlates of party identification and argues that the contemporary GOP has a support base that is highly similar to that of conventional Christian Democratic parties. It further suggests that the pattern of issue politics between the parties today is a result of this new cleavage structure.

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