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The loneliness of the unemployed: social and political participation in Germany in a European context

Die Einsamkeit der Arbeitslosen: soziale und politische Beteiligung in Deutschland im europäischen Kontext
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Lelkes, Orsolya

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Abstract The economic and social crisis highlights the importance of social connections, as they could potentially function as a sort of ”personal safety net“. These connections can provide social support, access to information, informal help or jobs, emotional support (Coleman 1990), and may deeply affect an individual’s ability to cope with job loss or declining incomes. On a social level, political activities, volunteering, helping each other, keeping a promise or telling the truth, are the “cement of society”. It becomes critically important in a social climate of increasing uncertainty and risk. This article focuses on social and political participation indicators, including trust, social meetings, political activities and social isolation. We present Germany in a European context, and also compare the situation of specific social groups in Germany. The unemployed are particularly exposed to social isolation: about one out of eight German unemployed have no close friend at all. In addition, they are less likely to be politically active, which reduces their interest representation potentials.
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; Europe; international comparison; political participation; unemployment; unemployed person; social relations; social capital; well-being; confidence; political activity; social isolation; group; European Social Survey
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Social Problems
Document language German
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 7-11
Journal Informationsdienst Soziale Indikatoren (2013) 50
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications