two links about the sociology of george w bush


1. has an article about the White House’s attempts to repress anti-Bush sentiment at Bush’s public appearances. In 2002, two people were arrested for merely for wearing anti-Bush shirts at one of the president’s speeches. The federal government settled the lawsuit, but not before they were forced to release the “Presidential Advance Manual,” which explained to people how to prevent protest. They even recommend a “rally squad” to intimidate people. Though most of us would agree that public officials have the right to speak without interruption, the document indicates that the White House was actively trying to have non-disruptive people removed, which should be of great concern.

2. The New Republic has a nice article on three political psychologists who study how thinking about mortality encourages “defense of worldview.”  The idea is pretty simple: when you are confronted with death, you tend to become fairly defensive and conservative, which plays into the hands of politicians who use rhetoric about enemies who kill us. They show this by setting up experiments were people make decisions about hypothetical situations, but the experimental group is exposed to a discussion of mortality and death. Nice revival of Freud, but backed with serious evidence. I think the phenomena is real, but I also know that economic conditions predict voting as well, so I would consider this a secondary factor in understanding peace time elections.

Written by fabiorojas

August 21, 2007 at 3:40 am

One Response

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  1. Regarding #2
    It’s not clear what outside the lab mortality salience exactly corresponds to. In one study they got some mortality salience effects just from surveying people in front of a funeral home (as opposed to a neutral location), and they claim 9/11 was a big mortality salience induction. More of the research in Terror Management Theory should be oriented towards extending the research to clarify the link to outside the lab settings, especially considering that they have 100’s of confirmatory lab studies at this point.
    I think their theory about cultural worldview defense is mostly a just-so story, vague enough to encompass a wide range of results that aren’t always consistent with one another. But the evidence is undeniable and fascinating.


    Thorsetin Veblen, Esq

    August 21, 2007 at 4:11 am

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