Is the Study of Attitudes Sufficient for the Study of National Character? Putting the Work of Alex Inkeles in Context

In: Comparative Sociology
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The work of Alex Inkeles is emphasized as a high point in the study of national character. The value of the anthropological field once known as culture and personality, now called psychological anthropology, for the study of political psychology is also highlighted. In some ways his work has not been surpassed because the issues he dealt with to a large extent have been ignored since his time. The ultimate usefulness of his approach is for understanding the variability of personality traits in a population area, particularly one that falls within particular political boundaries, and how individual personalities can conform to or resist the pressures, particularly political pressures, that result. The relevance of this kind of analysis is for the understanding of “modal personality” as it exists within political boundaries, thus having relevance for political anthropology and political sociology, and how these cultural and political boundaries relate to each other.

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