This book analyses the impact of socio-structural variables, such as social class, religion, urban/rural residence, age and gender, on influencing an individual's voting preferences. There have been major changes in recent decades both to social structure and how social structure determines people's voting behaviour. There has also been a shift in value orientations, for example from religious to secular values and from more authoritarian to libertarian values. The author addresses the questions: How do social structure and value orientations influence party choice in advanced industrial democracies?; To what extent is the impact of social structure on party choice transmitted via value orientations?; To what extent is the impact of value orientations on party choice causal effects when controlled for the prior structural variables? The book will be of use to advanced students and scholars in the fields of comparative politics, electoral politics and political sociology.
Oddbjørn Knutsen is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway. His research interests include comparative politics with a special focus on Western Europe, political sociology and electoral behaviour, value orientations and ideology, and methodology and statistics. He has published comparative articles in international journals on value change, value orientations and party choice, political cleavages and political ideology.
Chapter 1 Introduction and presentation of the research problems.- Chapter 2. The data set and the party systems of the 18 countries.- Chapter 3 Socio-structural variables and value orientations.- Chapter 4 Party choice and social structure.- Chapter 5 Party Choice and Value Orientations.- Chapter 6 The impact of social structure and value orientations compared.- Chapter 7 Conclusions.