Personal and Public Levels of Political Incivility

Ashley Muddiman


As interest in political incivility has grown, scholarly conceptualizations of incivility have diverged, often centering on politeness theory or deliberative theory, but rarely on both. The current project addresses this problem by empirically investigating a two-dimensional incivility model. Two experiments test individuals’ perceptions of uncivil interactions among political figures, finding that (a) personal-level incivility (impoliteness) and public-level incivility (lack of deliberativeness and reciprocity) are distinct concepts, (b) personal-level incivility is perceived as more uncivil than public-level incivility, and (c) political figures from a person’s own political party are perceived as more civil than others. Future researchers can use this two-dimensional model to bring coherence to the incivility literature and more thoroughly investigate the effects of public-level incivility.


incivility, partisanship, politics, experiments

Full Text: