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The Inequality of Participation: Re-examining the Role of Social Stratification and Post-Communism on Political Participation in Europe

[journal article]

Smith, Michael L.

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Abstract This article compares the determinants of political participation, from voting and signing petitions to boycotting, across 23 European countries, posing the question whether and to what degree social inequalities in political participation differ between post-communist and Western countries. The data for the analysis is from the second round of the ESS survey, conducted in 2004–2005. The analysis focuses on the role of education, occupation, and gender in shaping the chances of engaging in political action, while also controlling for a range of sociological, political, and demographic variables. Interaction effects between individual variables and a post-communist dummy variable are used to directly compare the statistical signifi cance of the difference in coeffi cients between post-communist and Western countries. The article finds that the observed effects of the post-communist context are actually accounted for by the indirect effects of a number of individual-level variables. In particular, education, occupation, and gender have stronger effects in post-communist countries than Western countries on many forms of political participation; in other words, the post-communist countries exhibit somewhat larger inequalities in political participation than in the West.
Classification Macrosociology, Analysis of Whole Societies; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords political participation; political behaviour; social inequality; social stratification; post-communism
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages 487–517 p.
Journal Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review, 45 (2009) 3
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications