Cultural Change and Political Character

Lawrence M. Mead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    American democracy presumes a culture of moderate individualism where people assert their own interests with limits and are trusting and civic toward others. This psychology is found only in Western countries. Politics has recently come under strain because moderate individualism is in decline. A credentialed elite condescends to the less capable while several groups among the latter lack an individualist style and are less moderate. The non-individualist population is also growing rapidly due to immigration from the non-West. These trends have generated identity politics, an alliance between elites and out-groups that has produced deep divisions. Until these trends are reversed, democracy will be confined mostly to elite arguments within the Beltway. But in the wider nation, democracy remains strong and could recover.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)258-268
    Number of pages11
    JournalPerspectives on Political Science
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Sep 10 2020

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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