Political change and social attitudes in South Africa

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Christopher R. Stones
Patrick C. L. Heaven
C. Bester
Cite this article:  Stones, C., Heaven, P., & Bester, C. (1997). Political change and social attitudes in South Africa. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 25(2), 105-114.


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We sought to determine the correlates of attitudes towards the new ANC-dominated government in South Africa among 2 groups of White university students. To a large extent, the research replicates an earlier project conducted in 1986 in which the predictors of attitudes towards the ANC were investigated at a time when it was banned, as were its leaders who were either imprisoned or in exile. Results indicate that conformity to group norms was of importance in the Afrikaans-speaking sample as were patriotism, authoritarian behavior, and prejudiced attitudes. Conversely, attitudes in the English-speaking group seemed to be held less strongly and attitudes towards the ANC-led government appeared no longer to be related to such factors as prejudice, authoritarianism, patriotism, or self-esteem. Results are examined in terms of long-standing sociopolitical differences between White English-speaking and Afrikaner groups in South Africa.


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