Main Article Content

Emily B. Carty
Universidad de Salamanca
Vol. 9 No. 2 (2020), Articles, pages 49-79
Accepted: Oct 14, 2020
Copyright How to Cite


In a region where personalistic politics and charismatic leaders have long been a characteristic of the political landscape, there has been little research exploring the relationship between individuals’ identification with leaders and its relationship with political participation. Using original survey data from Argentina in 2016, the findings from this study demonstrate a few key points. Firstly, that identities form around political leaders and that identification plays an important role in political participation. Secondly, while personal identification with a leader is related with atomized and collective participation, the relationship between collective identification that is shared with other supporters of the political leader and both types of participation is even stronger. Additionally, these identification measures are more strongly associated with political action in support of a leader than frequently used variables such as partisan identification and ideology. This suggests that the study of political participation, especially in those contexts with more personalized political systems such as are often found in Latin America, should not ignore the role of personal and especially group leader-based identity.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details


Abrams, D. & Hogg, M. A. (1990). Social identity theory: Constructive and critical advances. Springer-Verlag Publishing.

Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (2006). Social identifications: A social psychology theory of intergroup relations and group processes. Routledge.

Balderacchi, C. (2017). Participatory Mechanisms in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela: Deepening or Undermining Democracy? Government and Opposition, 52(1), 131-161.

Bartolini, S., & Mair, P. (1990). Policy competition, spatial distance and electoral instability. West European Politics, 13(4), 1-16.

Bennett, W. L. (2012). The personalization of politics: Political identity, social media, and changing patterns of participation. The annals of the American academy of political and social science, 644(1), 20-39.

Berry, J. A., Ebner, D., & Cornelius, M. (2019). White Identity Politics: Linked Fate and Political Participation. Politics, Groups & Identities, 1-19.

Booth, J. A. & Seligson, M. A. (2009). The Legitimacy Puzzle in Latin America. Political Support and Democracy in Eight Nations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Carty, K. (2013). Are political parties meant to be democratic? In W. Cross & R. Katz (Eds.), The Challenges of Intra-Party Democracy (pp. 11-26). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chiaramonte, A. & V. Emanuele. (2017). Party system volatility, regeneration and de-institutionalization in Western Europe (1945-2015), Party Politics, 23, 376-388.

Collier, R. B. and S. Handlin (2009). Introduction: Popular Representation in the Interest Arena and General Patterns and Emergent Differences. In R. B. Collier & S. Handlin (Eds.), Reorganizing Popular Politics: Participation and the New Interest Regime in Latin America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Conover, P. J. (1984). The influence of group identifications on political perception and evaluation. The Journal of Politics, 46(3), 760-785.

Conover, P. J. (1988). The role of social groups in political thinking. British Journal of Political Science, 18(1), 51-76.

Coppedge, M. (1998). The dynamic diversity of Latin American party systems. Party Politics, 4(4): 547-568.

Dalton, R. J. & Wattenberg, M. P. (2000). ‘The consequences of political dealignment’ in Parties without partisans. Political change in advanced industrial democracies, ed. R. J. Dalton, I. McAllister and M. P. Wattenberg (pp. 37-63) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

De Weerd, M., & Klandermans, B. (1999). Group identification and political protest: Farmers’ protest in the Netherlands. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29(8), 1073-1095.

Della Porta, D., & Diani, M. (2006). Social Movements: An Introduction. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Druckman, J. N., and Levendusky, M. S. (2019). What Do We Measure When We Measure Affective Polarization?, Public Opinion Quarterly, 83(1), 114-122.

Dunning, T. (2009). Direct Action and Associational Participation: Problem-Solving Repertoires of Individuals. In Ruth Berins Collier and Samuel Handlin (eds.), Reorganizing Popular Politics: Participation and the New Interest Regime in Latin America eds. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Ferrer, M., Median, L. & Torcal, M. (2006). «La participación política: factores explicativos». In J. Font, J. R. Montero & M. Torcal (Eds.). Ciudadanos, asociaciones y participación política en España (pp. 133-155). Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.

García-Guadilla, M. P. & Mallen, A. (2019). Polarization, Participatory Democracy, and Democratic Erosion in Venezuela’s Twenty-first Century Socialism. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 681(1), 62-77.

Garzia, D. (2011). The personalization of politics in Western democracies: Causes and consequences on leader-follower relationships. The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 697-709.

Garzia, D. (2013). Changing parties, changing partisans: the personalization of partisan attachments in Western Europe. Political Psychology, 34, 67-89.

Garzia, D. (2017). ‘Voter Evaluation of Candidates and Party Leaders’. Eds. K. Arzheimer, J. Evans & M. Lewis-Beck, The Handbook of Electoral Behaviour. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Garzia, D., Ferreira da Silva, F. & De Angelis, A. (2018). Partisan Dealignment and the Personalization of Politics in Western European Parliamentary Democracies, 1961-2016. Working paper. Center for the Study of Democracy, UC Irvine.

Grant, W. J., Moon, B., & Grant, J. B. (2010). Digital dialogue? Australian politicians’ use of the social network tool Twitter. Australian Journal of Political Science, 45(4), 579-604.

Green, D., Palmquist, B. & Schickler, E. (2002). Partisan Hearts and Minds: Political Parties and the Social Identities of Voters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Gulati, G. J., & Williams, C. B. (2010). Congressional candidates’ use of YouTube in 2008: Its frequency and rationale. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 7(2), 93-109.

Hawkins, K. A. (2010). Who Mobilizes? Participatory Democracy in Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution. Latin American Politics and Society, 52(3), 31-66

Hetherington, M. J. (2009). Putting polarization in perspective. British Journal of Political Science, 39, 413-448.

Hetherington, M. J., Long M. T., & Rudolph, T. J. (2016). Revisiting the myth. New evidence of a polarized electorate. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80(S1), 321-350.

Hirsch, E. L. (1990). Sacrifice for the cause: The impact of group processes on recruitment and commitment in protest movements. American Sociological Review, 55, 243-254.

Hogg, M. A., Abrams, D., Otten, S., & Hinkle, S. (2004). The social identity perspective: Intergroup relations, self-conception, and small groups. Small group research, 35(3), 246-276.

Huddy, L. (2001). From social to political identity: A critical examination of social identity theory. Political psychology, 22(1), 127-156.

Huddy, L. (2003). Group identity and political cohesion. In Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, ed. Leonie Huddy David O. Sears and Robert Jervis. New York: Oxford University Press chapter Group identity and political cohesion.

Huddy, L., Mason, L. & Aaroe, L. (2015). Expressive Partisanship: Campaign Involvement, Political Emotion, and Partisan Identity. American Political Science Review, 109, 1-17.

Ignazi, P. (2020). The failure of mainstream parties and the impact of new challenger parties in France, Italy, and Spain. Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 1-17.

Iyengar, S., Lelkes, Y., Levendusky, M., Malhotra, N., & Westwood, S. J. (2019). The Origins and Consequences of Affective Polarization in the United States. Annual Review of Political Science, 22, 129-146.

Iyengar, S., Sood, G., & Lelkes, Y. (2012). Affect, Not Ideology: A Social Identity Perspective on Polarization. Public Opinion Quarterly, 76, 404-431.

Iyengar, S., & Westwood, S. J. (2015). Fear and Loathing across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization. American Journal of Political Science, 59, 690-707.

Karvonen, L. (2010). The Personalization of Politics: A Study of Parliamentary Democracies. Colchester: ECPR Press.

Kitschelt, H., Hawkins, K. A., Luna, J. P., Rosas, G. & Zechmeister, E. J. (2010). Latin American Party Systems. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Klandermans, B. (2000). Identity and protest: how group identification helps to overcome collective action dilemmas. In M. Van Vugt, M. Snyder, T. R. Tyler, & A. Biel (Eds.). Cooperation in modern society: Promoting the welfare of communities, states, and organizations (pp. 162-183). London: Routledge.

Klandermans, B. (2003). Collective political action. In Sears, D. O., L. Huddy, & R. Jervis (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology (pp. 670-709). New York: Oxford University Press.

Klandermans, B., & De Weerd, M. (2000). Group identification and political protest. In Stryker, T. Owens, & R.W. White (Eds.). Social psychology and social movements: Cloudy past and bright future (pp. 68-92). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Larsson, A. O. (2014). The EU parliament on Twitter-Assessing the permanent online practices of parliamentarians. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 12(2), 149-166.

Larsson, A. O., & Moe, H. (2011). Studying political microblogging: Twitter users in the 2010 Swedish election campaign. New Media & Society, 14(5), 729-747.

Lipset, S. M., & Rokkan, S. (1967). Cleavage structures, party systems, and voter alignments: an introduction. New York: Free Press.

Mainwaring, S. & Torcal, M. (2006). Party system institutionalization and party system theory after the third wave of democratization. Handbook of party politics, 11(6), 204-227.

Mair, P. (2005). Democracy Beyond Parties. Irvine: Center for the Study of Democracy, University of California.

Mazzoleni, G. (2000). A return to civic and political engagement prompted by personalized political leadership? Political Communication, 17, 325-328.

McAllister, I. (2007). The Personalization of Politics. In R. J. Dalton & H. Klingemann, The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (pp. 571-588). New York: Oxford University Press.

McCoy, J., Rahman, T., & Somer, M. (2018). Polarization and the Global Crisis of Democracy: Common Patterns, Dynamics, and Pernicious Consequences for Democratic Polities. American Behavioral Scientist, 62(1), 16-42.

Meyrowitz, J. (1985). The impact of electronic media on social behaviour. New York: Oxford University Press.

Moseley, M. W. (2018). Protest State. New York: Oxford University Press.

Moseley, M. W. (2015). Contentious Engagement: Understanding Protest Participation in Latin American Democracies. Journal of Politics in Latin America, 7(3), 3-48.

Ocampo, A. X., Dana, K., & Barreto, M. A. (2018). The American Muslim Voter: Community Belonging and Political Participation. Social Science Research, 72, 84-99.

Piñeiro, R., Rhodes-Purdy, M., & Rosenblatt, F. (2016). The Engagement Curve: Populism and Political Engagement in Latin America. Latin American Research Review, 51, 3-23.

Polletta, F., & Jasper, J. M. (2001). Collective identity and social movements. Annual review of Sociology, 27(1), 283-305.

Rahat, G. & Sheafer, T. (2007). The personalization(s) of politics: Israel, 1949-2003, Political Communication, 41, 65-80.

Ramírez, C. V. (2005). Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: Who are the Chavistas? Latin American Perspectives, 32(3), 79-97.

Ren, Y., Harper, F. M., Drenner, S., Terveen, L., Kiesler, S., Riedl, J., & Kraut, R. E. (2012). Building member attachment in online communities: Applying theories of group identity and interpersonal bonds. Mis Quarterly, 841-864.

Rhodes-Purdy, M. & Madrid, R. L. (2020). The perils of personalism. Democratization, 27, 2, 321-339.

Sanchez, G. R. & Vargas, E. D. (2016). Taking a Closer Look at Group Identity: The Link between Theory and Measurement of Group Consciousness and Linked Fate. Political research quarterly, 69(1), 160-174.

Simon B., Loewy, M., Sturmer, S., Weber, U., Kampmeier, C., Freytag, P., Habig, C., & Spahlinger, P. (1998). Collective identity and social movement participation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 646-658.

Tajfel, H. E. (1978). Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. Academic Press.

Tajfel, H. (1981). Human Groups and Social Categories. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tate, K. (1993). From protest to politics: The new black voters in American elections. New York: Russell Sage.

Teorell, J., Torcal, M. and Montero, J. R. (2007). Political Participation: Mapping the Terrain. In J. van Deth, A. Westholm & J. R. Montero (Eds.), Citizenship, Involvement in European Democracies. A comparative Analysis. London: Routledge.

Torcal, M. (Ed.). (2015). Sistemas de partidos en America Latina. Causas y consequencias de su equilibrio inestable. Anthropos: Barcelona.

Trepte, S. & Loy, L. S. (2017). Social identity theory and self-cateogrization theory. In P. Rössler, C. A. Hoffner, & L. van Zoonen. The international encyclopedia of media effects (pp. 1832-1845). Malten, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.

Turner, J. C. (1999). Some current issues in research on social identity and self-categorization theories. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity (pp. 6-34). Oxford: Blackwell.

Valenzuela, S., Somma, N., Scherman, A. & Arriagada, A. (2016). Social media in Latin America: deepening or bridging gaps in protest participation? Online Information Review, 40(5), 695-711.

van Aelst, P., Sharif, T. & Stanyer, J. (2012). The personalization of mediated political communication: A review of concepts, operationalizations, and key findings, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 13(2), 203-220.

Van de Eijk, C. & Franklin, M. (2009). Elections and Voters. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T. & Spears, R. (2008). Toward and Integrative Social Identity Model of Collective Action: A Quantitative Research Synthesis of Three Socio-Psychological Perspectives. Psychological Bulletin, 134(4), 504-535.

West, K. J. (2020). Candidate Matters: A Study of Ethnic Parties, Campaigns, and Elections in Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Zechmeister, E. J., & Corral, M. (2013). «Individual and Contextual Constraints on Ideological Labels in Latin America. Comparative Political Studies, 46(6), 675-701.