Is Context the Key? The (non-)differential effects of mediated incivility in three European countries

Lukas P. Otto, Sophie Lecheler, Andreas R.T. Schuck

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


There is a worry that serious forms of political conflict, in particular, uncivil behavior of politicians, increases political cynicism and demobilizes the public. Despite the close relation of incivility with social and cultural norms of what is an acceptable form of discussion, studies are mostly restricted to one country. To overcome this blind spot, we conduct a cross-national experiment in three countries (the Netherlands, UK and Spain) testing whether civil and uncivil forms of mediated political conflict affect cynicism toward the EU, political participation intentions, and the support for the policies discussed. Results indicate that despite different levels of conflict in the news, and different levels of cynicism and participation in these countries, the effects of incivility are homogenous. Uncivil political conflict has negative effects on political participation intention and policy support but does not significantly affect cynicism – in each of the three countries. We also test the role of an individual-level factor, namely Tolerance for Disagreement (TfD). Citizens with low levels of TfD are more affected by uncivil conflict, while subjects with high TfD seem to be immune against violations of social norms. We discuss these finding against the backdrop of individual and cultural influences on political communication effects and cross-cultural experimental research in more general terms.
Seiten (von - bis)88-107
FachzeitschriftPolitical Communication
Frühes Online-Datum11 Okt. 2019
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020

ÖFOS 2012

  • 508007 Kommunikationswissenschaft
  • 508014 Publizistik