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Constituent political cultures of Europe

Final Report Summary - CPCE (Constituent political cultures of Europe)

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 offers a radically different perspective. It grounds 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 sees in regions the building blocks of any state (and any eventual supra-state) political culture. It distinguishes between two types of constituent cultures (regional versus sub-state) and argues that each offers distinct socialization routes for citizens.
CPCE provides a first systematic mapping of the multiple and overlapping political cultures in Europe. It locates the constituent regional and sub-state political cultures in 18 Western European states, clarifies the socialization processes that set these two types of cultures apart, develops indicators for predicting the presence of constituent cultures and last, identifies their impact on individuals and regions.
The project has resulted in two edited collections (Henderson 2010; Henderson, Jeffery, Wincott and Wyn Jones 2013) seven articles or chapters and 25 conference papers or invited talks. The applicant has applied for and won a further eight grants, often as part of teams now investigating different aspects of regional political cultures, and two further grant applications on methods of quantitative analysis.

The key findings suggest that we may distinguish between ‘hard’ regional political cultures in bounded territorial units and ‘soft’ regional variants of state-wide political cultures. The articles show how features of regional political cultures, such as regional identity, affect the propensity to vote in regional elections, the extent of regional and state-wide solidarity as well as support for regional legislative autonomy. Furthermore, in an analysis of voting in simultaneous regional and state-wide elections in Ukraine the research suggests that regional political cultures need not have strong legislative authority to ensure their continued impact. Last, working as part of a team now examining multi-level citizenship in Europe the researcher has helped to create a framework for data collection and analysis that is now being applied in North and South America and Eastern Europe, thus extending research findings beyond the initial cases in CPCE.