Fiske Social Models and Political Ideology

A key claim of Fiske is that the four relational social models facilitate and underpin political ideologies.  Deeply cognitively instantiated in every human mind but varying in salience, in strength and resonance in each individual.   They interplay with Haidt’s Moral Foundations but it it quite clear that the social models in themselves are key in giving shape to ideological space.

Importantly, the degree to which some social models are referenced provides us with a detailed typology of different types of leftitst (say) or explain the differences between Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel.

When people say that the left -right access is no longer relevant the are partly correct in the sense that it was always a simplification of the reality.  The reality is grounded in Fiske’s social models and the extent to which each ideological perspective thinks them worthy of reference, worthy of respect, appropriate or worthy of moralising.

Here we look at the main political ideologies from left to right:




Left Authoritarians

Social Democracy

Pro-Market Left


Moderate Nationalists

Christian Democrats

National Security Conservatives

Free Market Conservatives

Right Authoritarians



The Anarchists are interesting as they are motivated by reverse dominance in Haidtian terms and either very weakly reference or don’t reference at all the Fiske Social Models.

CS and AR are the social models which where dominant during most of human evolution and shaped every society up until the last 10,000 years, and most since then so you would expect that CS is important to all ideologies as this picture shows.  The strongest referrers of course are the Communists, Communitarians and then the extreme right.  The Extreme right conceives of the society as the nation and demands sharing (usually sacrifice) in its name.  This is true of fascists also, both these types of rightists will appropriate property, business interests and lives to the collective communal national interest.  Leftists also cite the necessity of collective communal interest over individual interests in a clear spectrum – for the communists, the collective has primac, for social democrats the assertion of collective interests can trump some individual interests in some cases.


In AR the reference is not as strong as CS, but stronger than EM or MP below, especially on the right.  The extreme right of course  makes a fetish of authority seeing it as a source of moral purpose or worth.  All rightists employ this reference to a degree, the oddity here is that far left communists and socialist opposing in-group authority utilise AR.  The reason being that the strong assertion of communal rights over individual ones required the organisation and discipline association with AR.  The dictatorship of the proletariat was built on AR lines.  North Korea takes AR to fundamental extremes requiring citizens to worship leaders with god like qualities.  Anarchists, Greens and Communitarians are full of reverse dominance and can’t reference authority as a good in itself.


The Renaissance and Political Liberalism, the Enlightenment and the democratic revolution all owe their origins to the EM social  model.  It is obvious therefore that the democratic centre will valorize this model and the undemocratic parties eschew it.


The MP model is new to politics  emerging only in the past 200 years with the emergence of capitalism.  Although trade and MP are very ancient the MP model didn’t have much political salience when trade was marginal in communal life, but with the ascendancy of economic man MP, moved to the forefront of politics.  Mostly associated with the right the valorization of this model has recently been joined by a section of the left.  For the extremes any reference to price or contract as MP should really be referred to is rightism.


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