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Browsing by Author "Pullinen, Leena"

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  • Pullinen, Leena (2014)
    Aims of the study. The left and right are widely used terms in politics. The terms do not have exact academic definitions, but right-wing stances have often been connected with conservatism and authoritarianism, and left-wing stances with liberalism and egalitarianism. Values are defined as basic principles used for the selection of actions and evaluation of persons and circumstances. The 10 Schwartz basic values are universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, security, power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, and self-direction. They can be expressed by means of two dimensions: self-transcendence vs. self-enhancement, and conservation vs. openness to change. Left-wing stances have been connected to self-transcendence and openness to change values, and right-wing stances to self-enhancement and conservation values in Western European countries including Finland. The aim of this thesis was to study Finnish people's impressions of left-wing and right-wing values, and the differences in impressions between left-wingers and right-wingers, using the Schwartz values and value dimensions. Methods. The data was collected in 2012 with an Internet questionnaire. The participants (N=1886) were recruited via mailing lists. They were asked to place themselves onto a left-right continuum (0=left, 10=right). Their personal values and their impressions of left-wing and right-wing values were measured using the Short Schwartz Values Survey (SSVS). The differences in the absolute means for each value between left-wingers and right-wingers were compared with t-tests to see whether the values were regarded as more left-wing or right-wing. Value hierarchies were looked at to reveal the relative orders of importance of values. Results and conclusions. Universalism and benevolence were perceived to be more left-wing than right-wing values. All other values were perceived to be more right-wing than left-wing. Right-wingers were seen as more conservative than left-wingers, and left-wingers as more self-transcendent than right-wingers. However, there were differences between left-wingers and right-wingers in how they perceived left-wing and right-wing values, in a way that suggested a possible ingroup-outgroup bias. Both groups saw the other group as giving foremost priority to power and higher priority to hedonism than the ingroup. Left-wingers also viewed right-wingers as less benevolence- and universalism-driven than the ingroup. The results shed light upon what people mean with the terms left and right. They also help to understand why political discourse can become easily polarized.