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Political Culture and the Voting Function at times of Democracy Change

TitlePolitical Culture and the Voting Function at times of Democracy Change
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMonica, Poletti, Kotnarowski Michal, Kustec-Lipicer Simona, Markowski Radoslaw, and Segatti Paolo
Conference Name3rd European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Keywordscultural frame, cultural shift, institutional confidence, political culture, populism, turnout, vote choice

Political culture is one of the most popular and at the same time problematic concept in political science. References to the impact of cultural attitudes on political support, attitudes towards politics, political behaviour, and party choice were, and are many in comparative politics. Almost all of them analyse the cultural impact at the individual level, although their argument is mainly concerned with aggregate proprieties of societies, as Jackman and Miller (2007) suggested. Moreover, most of the studies on culture and politics relation share the premise that cultural attitudes have an impact since they are internalized (endogenous) predispositions directly affecting political attitudes and behaviour. This paper aims to address the impact of cultural factors on political behaviour from a different perspective than the one usually used on the following accounts. Firstly, it does not conceive political culture as configuration of internalized values, but as cognitive frames that influence individual expectations on the behaviour of others. Secondly, it considers political culture as exogenous propriety of the context in which voters turn out (or not) and then vote. Thirdly, we are not interested on the direct effects of social cultural clusters on turnout and party choice, but on their conditional effects. In other words, we are concerned on how some aspects of political culture alter the effects of the individual determinants of turnout and party choice. We analyse to what extent populism, cultural change in values priorities and institutional confidence can modify the impact of key individual determinants of party choice and turnout such as partisanship, leadership and ideological proximities. Results are still tentative, but very promising.

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