This comparative study examines what kinds of societal forces shape European relationships towards democratic political life in contemporary Europe.
Drawing on data from the European Social Survey (ESS), the book develops a theoretical perspective on the relationship between social structure and democracy and links this to research on social capital and political behaviour. The authors explore the impact of individual social characteristics on a broad range of the Europeans’ political attitudes and behaviours. They investigate how the social position of the individuals in the European societies contributes to the explanation of the national and cross-national patterns of political engagement, addressing trust in the social and political environment, life satisfaction, party preferences and attitudes towards migration and migrants.
Providing detailed descriptions of the similarities and differences among the various European publics at the beginning of the 21st century, Society and Democracy in Europe will be of strong interest to students and scholars of European politics, political participation and political sociology.
1. Introduction: Society and Democracy in Europe Oscar W. Gabriel and Silke I. Keil PART I: Values 2. The attitudinal dimension of political engagement Oscar W. Gabriel 3. Political participation in Europe Marc Hooghe and Ellen Quintelier 4. Choosing Political Contents in Newspapers and Television: A cross-national comparison of preferences for information and entertainment in European nations Heiner Meulemann PART II: Attitudes 5. Social trust in Europe Silke I. Keil 6. Political Trust in Europe. Mapping contextual preconditions of a relational concept Sonja Zmerli 7. Affluence, Inequality and Satisfaction with Democracy Armin Schäfer PART III: Behaviour 8. Social location and value priorities. A European-wide comparison of the relation between social-structural variables and human values Bart Meuleman, Eldad Davidov, Peter Schmidt and Jaak Billiet 9. Images of social and political order Jan W. van Deth 10. Party choice Oddbjorn Knudsen 11. Attitudes towards immigrants in 25 European countries. The role of social capital in different national contexts Jean Tillie, Sjef van Stiphout and Meindert Fennema 12. Conclusion: Social structure and the individual’s relationship towards politics. A European perspective Silke I. Keil und Oscar W. Gabriel