Democracy as a legitimizing ideology

P.J. Henry, G.A. Wetherell, M. Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Democracy as an abstract belief system bestows rights to individuals and serves egalitarian principles. However, the language of democracy may be used to justify harmful treatment of others in the world. Data from 3 representative samples of adults are presented demonstrating that satisfaction with and support for democracy are associated with support for militarism, a hierarchy-maintaining tool, among those who oppose equality compared with those who support equality. Furthermore, these data highlight the importance of political (Study 2) and historical (Study 3) contexts, demonstrating that democracy is associated with militarism particularly when people oppose equality, in contexts in which democracy is especially valued, and at historical moments when it is militarily expedient (i.e., wartime).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-664
JournalPeace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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