The Seventh Party System? Social Homophily and the Reemergence of Culturally-Based Political Coalitions
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This thesis explores the growth of polarization in American politics and society as a result of social homophily. In recent years, social scientists have documented the increase in polarization, but their work has tended to view party identification and ideological rigidity as something to be explained in the context of policy battles and not as an independent variable that drives other areas of political and social life. My main thesis in this project is that social self-segregation has turned partisanship into a larger part of a person�s identity�in other words, people are not partisan because of deeply held views on issues but rather because partisanship and ideological rigidity are the primary determining factors of their broader worldview. People therefore �choose� to be ideologically rigid or partisan and allow this to predetermine many of their views on social issues.