The Political Psychology of Attitudes towards the West: An Empirical Analysis from Tamil Nadu, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Political Psychology of Attitudes towards the West

An Empirical Analysis from Tamil Nadu, 1st Edition

By Björn Goldstein


246 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-01-08
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Why do some individuals from the imagined "non-West" view the "West" favorably and others do not? 

Grounded in psychological authoritarianism and the psychological reactions to experiences of rejection, Björn Goldstein provides a theoretical model to explain and predict attitude toward the "West." Using accounts from high-ranking politicians from different socioeconomic groups in the Tamil Nadu region of India—a region independent from the often too "emotionalized" discourse regarding (political) Islam—Goldstein challenges the conventional narrative that the most important factors for attitude formation toward the West are experiences of disregard and oppression perpetrated by the West.  

Far beyond the personal characteristics of individuals, differences in attitudes follow a regular pattern of variables influencing opinion and attitude formation toward the West in each society. Scoring high on authoritarianism predicts "anti-Western" attitudes far better than socio-economic status, cultural or moral concerns, or normative differences do.


'A fascinating insight into the psychology of attitudes towards the West. The association, that Goldstein uncovers, between authoritarian attitudes and high socioeconomic status with anti-Westernism, is both challenging and important.' - Alastair Bonnett, Professor of Social Geography, Newcastle University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Relevance of Studying Attitudes Towards the "West" for International Relations Research

3. Anti-"Western" and Pro-"Western" Attitudes: ATheoretical Approach

4. Probing the Theoretical Model: a Qualitative Approach

5. Seven interviewees’ Attitudes Towards the "West": Analysis and Comparison

6. Discussion

7. Conclusion

About the Author

Björn Goldstein is a lecturer in the Institute of Political Science at the University of Münster, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics

International relations is a rapidly changing area of research, reacting to and anticipating an ever more integrated and globalised world. This series aims to publish the best new work in the field of international relations, and of politics more generally. Books in the series challenge existing empirical and normative theories, and advance new paradigms as well as presenting significant new research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General