Defending the Faith(s)? Democracy and Hereditary Right in England

Jackie Abell, Clifford Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The persistence of traditional monarchies in modern societies, which are otherwise characterized by democratic and egalitarian values, remains a paradox in the social sciences. In part this is attributable to the lack of psychological investigation into the relationship between subject and sovereign, and in particular the ways in which the political and social values of the citizenry shape understandings of a hereditary monarch’s right to represent a national community. Adopting the qualitative analysis methods of discursive psychology and grounded theory, the current study examines vernacular accounts of nationhood and monarchy in England in both formalized conversational interviews (n = 60) and impromptu street interviews (n = 56). Focusing on accounts of Prince Charles’s recent proposal to change the role of the monarch, from “Defender of the (Christian) Faith” to “Defender of Faiths,” those in favor treated it as a positive step towards reflecting a diverse (religious) community, bringing the monarchy into line with current concerns of pluralism and upholding
values of personal choice and individual rights. Participants who rejected the proposed change in title construed it as antithetical to these values in terms of reflecting personal stake and interest, an abuse of power, or an imposition on other faiths. In all accounts, the prime concern was in safeguarding the political and social values of the citizenry. In conclusion it is argued that the study of subjects’ relationship to the monarch, its function and legitimacy, can provide an opportunity to examine how values can characterize a national community and facilitate national diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-504
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

Fingerprint

Democracy
England
faith
Social Values
democracy
Interviews
monarchy
Psychology
Cultural Diversity
Values
Illegitimacy
Social Sciences
religious community
subject of study
interview
grounded theory
pluralism
community
persistence
legitimacy

Cite this

Abell, Jackie ; Stevenson, Clifford. / Defending the Faith(s)? Democracy and Hereditary Right in England. In: Political Psychology. 2011 ; Vol. 32, No. 3. pp. 485-504.
@article{3cfa1b7620644ada8bbe86178722ea09,
title = "Defending the Faith(s)?: Democracy and Hereditary Right in England",
abstract = "The persistence of traditional monarchies in modern societies, which are otherwise characterized by democratic and egalitarian values, remains a paradox in the social sciences. In part this is attributable to the lack of psychological investigation into the relationship between subject and sovereign, and in particular the ways in which the political and social values of the citizenry shape understandings of a hereditary monarch’s right to represent a national community. Adopting the qualitative analysis methods of discursive psychology and grounded theory, the current study examines vernacular accounts of nationhood and monarchy in England in both formalized conversational interviews (n = 60) and impromptu street interviews (n = 56). Focusing on accounts of Prince Charles’s recent proposal to change the role of the monarch, from “Defender of the (Christian) Faith” to “Defender of Faiths,” those in favor treated it as a positive step towards reflecting a diverse (religious) community, bringing the monarchy into line with current concerns of pluralism and upholding values of personal choice and individual rights. Participants who rejected the proposed change in title construed it as antithetical to these values in terms of reflecting personal stake and interest, an abuse of power, or an imposition on other faiths. In all accounts, the prime concern was in safeguarding the political and social values of the citizenry. In conclusion it is argued that the study of subjects’ relationship to the monarch, its function and legitimacy, can provide an opportunity to examine how values can characterize a national community and facilitate national diversity.",
author = "Jackie Abell and Clifford Stevenson",
year = "2011",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00813.x",
language = "English",
volume = "32",
pages = "485--504",
journal = "Political Psychology",
issn = "0162-895X",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

Defending the Faith(s)? Democracy and Hereditary Right in England. / Abell, Jackie; Stevenson, Clifford.

In: Political Psychology, Vol. 32, No. 3, 06.2011, p. 485-504.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Defending the Faith(s)?

T2 - Democracy and Hereditary Right in England

AU - Abell, Jackie

AU - Stevenson, Clifford

PY - 2011/6

Y1 - 2011/6

N2 - The persistence of traditional monarchies in modern societies, which are otherwise characterized by democratic and egalitarian values, remains a paradox in the social sciences. In part this is attributable to the lack of psychological investigation into the relationship between subject and sovereign, and in particular the ways in which the political and social values of the citizenry shape understandings of a hereditary monarch’s right to represent a national community. Adopting the qualitative analysis methods of discursive psychology and grounded theory, the current study examines vernacular accounts of nationhood and monarchy in England in both formalized conversational interviews (n = 60) and impromptu street interviews (n = 56). Focusing on accounts of Prince Charles’s recent proposal to change the role of the monarch, from “Defender of the (Christian) Faith” to “Defender of Faiths,” those in favor treated it as a positive step towards reflecting a diverse (religious) community, bringing the monarchy into line with current concerns of pluralism and upholding values of personal choice and individual rights. Participants who rejected the proposed change in title construed it as antithetical to these values in terms of reflecting personal stake and interest, an abuse of power, or an imposition on other faiths. In all accounts, the prime concern was in safeguarding the political and social values of the citizenry. In conclusion it is argued that the study of subjects’ relationship to the monarch, its function and legitimacy, can provide an opportunity to examine how values can characterize a national community and facilitate national diversity.

AB - The persistence of traditional monarchies in modern societies, which are otherwise characterized by democratic and egalitarian values, remains a paradox in the social sciences. In part this is attributable to the lack of psychological investigation into the relationship between subject and sovereign, and in particular the ways in which the political and social values of the citizenry shape understandings of a hereditary monarch’s right to represent a national community. Adopting the qualitative analysis methods of discursive psychology and grounded theory, the current study examines vernacular accounts of nationhood and monarchy in England in both formalized conversational interviews (n = 60) and impromptu street interviews (n = 56). Focusing on accounts of Prince Charles’s recent proposal to change the role of the monarch, from “Defender of the (Christian) Faith” to “Defender of Faiths,” those in favor treated it as a positive step towards reflecting a diverse (religious) community, bringing the monarchy into line with current concerns of pluralism and upholding values of personal choice and individual rights. Participants who rejected the proposed change in title construed it as antithetical to these values in terms of reflecting personal stake and interest, an abuse of power, or an imposition on other faiths. In all accounts, the prime concern was in safeguarding the political and social values of the citizenry. In conclusion it is argued that the study of subjects’ relationship to the monarch, its function and legitimacy, can provide an opportunity to examine how values can characterize a national community and facilitate national diversity.

U2 - 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00813.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00813.x

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 485

EP - 504

JO - Political Psychology

JF - Political Psychology

SN - 0162-895X

IS - 3

ER -