MMM Workshop September 2023

Political polarization: Persistent hatred or issue-dependent sidings?

Ali Faqeeh
Department of Computer Science, Aalto University

14 Sep 2023, 11:00–11:25


In our recent work, we designed two approaches to investigate polarization patterns in political and social platforms. These approaches offer two measures, rigidity and alignment, to quantify the intensity of consistency in polarization patterns from two different aspects; this is used to demonstrate to what extent the polarization in opinions might be independent of ideology and basically the issue or the policy domain at hand, and instead it is derived by fixated antagonism or partisanship.

We show the patterns of rigidity and alignment in the data for the parliamentary systems of several countries and argue that periods of highly aligned/rigid and highly polarized political systems can exist which can harm responsible and constructive policy-making and social discourse. This type of high rigidity/alignment regime has existed across various policy domains and even more intensely within different policy domains across the casted votes of those domains. We also show that although different countries show more or less similar rigidity patterns, they differ in towards which topics the members of the parliament are more rigid.

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