Monday, July 21, 2014
Jesse Harrington, Michele Gelfand, TPM: States vary in the degree to which they are tight (have strong norms and little tolerance for deviance), or loose (have weak norms and greater tolerance for deviance). ... Tightness-looseness gets at the issues that tend to result in cultural divisions in the United States -- the fulcrum around which the modern-day "culture war" in America rotates. ... Tighter states are found primarily in the South and the Midwest, while looser states are generally found in the Northeast, the West Coast, and some of the Mountain States.
At this point you may reasonably ask how tightness-looseness differs from the red-versus-blue divide, given similar patterns between our map and that of the electoral map of the U.S. Tight states tend to be conservative and vote Republican, and loose states tend to be liberal and vote Democrat. Yet, these are distinct constructs. Conservatism and liberalism are individual beliefs, while tightness and looseness describe an objective, external social reality that exists independently from any one individual. Importantly, red and blue are not necessarily indicative of tight or loose state social norms. This can be demonstrated by those loose states that vote Republican -- including Idaho, Montana, and Alaska
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