Project 3: REGIO POL

Regional polarization of political attitudes and behavior

Project 3 will examine how tendencies toward regional polarization in socio-economic development and differences in the public provision of services affect political attitudes and behavior.

The underlying hypothesis is that (a) the different dynamics of regional development are expressed directly in regionally distinct assessments of, for instance, government programs and satisfaction with democracy, and (b) these dynamics are mediated by regional structures of opportunities, which affect political attitudes and modes of political behavior in different ways. Since local, regional, and national contexts can affect social and political entities and manifest themselves in social conflicts, the project also asks whether regional developmental dynamics have the potential to create new or exacerbate existing regional divisions in Germany’s party system.

This project will examine the role of anomia, efficacy beliefs, and emotions as mediating factors between (a) regionally disparate opportunity structures and the resulting disparities in individual living conditions, and (b) cleavages in political attitudes and support for populist movements. Following contemporary theories in political sociology and social psychology on political attitudes and behavior, we expect institutional trust and institutional anomy to shape individuals’ political attitudes and behavior.

We expect three pathways to play a role for this mechanism. The first pathway is the identity pathway, where the roles of national and regional identities will be tested. The second results from the individual’s efficacy beliefs. The third is the emotional pathway, driven by outrage, contempt, humiliation, and hope.

Doctoral Students

Amelie Nickel

Institute for Interdisciplinary
Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG)
Bielefeld University
Project 3: Regio Pol

Copyright: Private

Stephan Schütze

Research employee
Bielefeld University
Project 3: Regio Pol

Copyright: Private

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