The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behavior and Public Opinion
Oddbjørn Knutsen has contributed with the chapter "Attitudes, values and belief systems" in The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behavior and Public Opinion, edited by Justin Fisher, Edward Fieldhouse, Mark N. Franklin, Rachel Gibson, Marta Cantijoch and Christopher Wlezien.
The topic of this chapter comprises three concepts that are central within public opinion research, namely attitudes, values and belief systems. The organization of the chapter is to start with examining how these concepts are defined within social science in general, and then within political science more specifically (the concepts of political attitudes, values and belief systems). The section on belief systems focuses also on a major debate within public opinion research – that concerning people’s democratic competence – which Philip Converse started many years ago by focusing on “the nature of belief systems in mass publics”. The chapter also examines how various authors have used the notion “ideology” and “ideological belief systems” in studies of mass belief systems, political attitudes and values.