Values of British political extremists and potential extremists: A discriminant analysis


  • Dr. Michael Billig,

    1. Department of Psychology, Univereity of Birmingham, Elms Road, P.O. Box 363, Birmingham BA5 2TT, U.K.
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  • Raymond Cochrane

    1. University of Birmingham
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    • Department of Psychology, The University of Birmingham, B15 2TT. The authors would like to thank the following for their assistance with various aspects of the work reported here: Michael Hog, Nicole Bates, Margarate Oates, Susan Hough, Helen Windley, John Hewitt and Susan Roelants. In addition, our thanks are due to the respondents who gave their time to complete the questionnaire.


Studied the value systems of political extremists and potential extremists, comparing them with the value systems of centrist activists and supporters. Samples of political activists from the Labour, Conservative, Communist and National Front parties were obtained, as well as samples of non-active supporters. The non-active supporters were defined as Potential Extremists, if they supported a centrist party as first choice, but either Communist or National Front as second choice. All subjects completed the Rokeach Value Survey. Discriminant analysis showed that the four groups of activists could be clearly distinguished on the bask of their values. However the values of the Potential Extremists did not especially resemble the values of actual National Front or Communist activists. There were value differences between the Potential Extremists and the centrist supporters; nevertheless these two groups tended to be distinguished by very different values from those which distinguished between the activists. The appeal of value symbols for different types of political involvement was discussed.