In 1964, political scientist Philip Converse published one of the most citied papers in the discipline: “The nature of belief systems in mass publics”. It attempted to define just how consistent and sophisticated are the political beliefs of the American public.
In our current moment, when democracy seems in the balance of an ideologically polarized society, it’s hard to think of paper with more relevance. But how accurate is it, and how has the paper itself pushed political science, creating a feedback loop, to focus on particular questions instead of others?
The podcast is going to try something different this week. We’re going to look back at this foundational paper, discuss its implications for today, and investigate how it has shaped political science.
Paper Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08913810608443650