Constituent Political Cultures of Europe

  • Ailsa Henderson, FP7 Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship

CPCE provided a first systematic mapping of the multiple and overlapping political cultures in Europe. It located the constituent regional and sub-state political cultures in 18 Western European states, clarified the socialization processes that set these two types of cultures apart, developed indicators for predicting the presence of constituent cultures and last, identified their impact on individuals and regions. To accomplish these tasks CPCE explored existing cross-national surveys of attitudes and behaviours (namely the European Social Survey) and built three aggregate-level datasets from publicly-available data. Political culture in Europe has been the focus of intense interest recently as scholars ask whether a pan-European set of identities and attitudes are developing in line with enhanced institutional integration (Sturm and Dieringer 2005; Mair 2004; Reinhard 2001; Fossum 2001; Mamadouh 1999; Eatwell 1997; Leonard 1993; Smith 1993). CPCE offered a radically different perspective. It grounded a European political culture in the interaction of multiple constituent political cultures that are generated by demographic and institutional variation at the regional level. Drawing on grid/group theory CPCE saw in regions the building blocks of any state (and any eventual supra-state) political culture. It distinguished between two types of constituent cultures (regional versus sub-state) and argued that each offers distinct socialization routes for citizens. It developed new indicators to locate political cultures and measure their impact on individuals and regions.

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