Date of Award

1-6-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Ben L. Kail

Second Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Third Advisor

Eric R. Wright

Abstract

Ideological partisans in the United States are increasingly “sorting” themselves along cultural lines, from the cable news stations they watch to the chain restaurants they prefer. How do partisans seem to “know” how to sort themselves along ideological lines in cultural realms that offer no obvious political cues?

To investigate this question, I look to the realm of narrative television, where conservatives and liberals have certain unique favorite programs despite the programs lacking any overt political content. I employ a quantitative content analysis to demonstrate that the substance of these polarizing shows relate to the social traits of curiosity, conformity, relativism, dogmatism, tribalism, vigilance, and chastity, which have previously been demonstrated to correspond to political ideology.

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