Arts & Humanities Campus News

Book explores impacts of partisanship on democratic practices

Can people be good partisans without demonizing our political opponents?

“When Politics Becomes Personal: The Effect of Partisan Identity on Anti-Democratic Behavior” by Alexa Bankert seeks to answer this question through political science and social psychology frameworks.

Bankert, an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, argues for the distinction between positive and negative partisanship and demonstrates that these concepts have distinct consequences for political behavior, including citizens’ political participation and their commitment to democratic norms and values. With this distinction, she explains that strong support for a political party does not have to be accompanied by the vilification of the opposing party and its members.

The book closes with the hopeful message that partisanship is a necessary pilar of representative and liberal democracy.