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Hopes and Anxieties in Europe

Six Waves of the European Social Survey


Edited By Paweł B. Sztabiński, Henryk Domański and Franciszek Sztabiński

The present collection of articles is based on data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and analyses the changes in European societies. The first part of the volume is devoted to relations between legitimization, subjective well-being, voting patterns, and the role of social cohesion in determination of political culture. The second part addresses methodological questions designed to quantify the reliability and validity of certain measures in interviews, coverage errors, measurement errors, and non-response, as well as the understanding of questions in multi-country surveys in the context of the comparability between countries.
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3. Empirical test of political dealignment in European countries


3.1 Introduction

Even though the alleged partisan dealignment has triggered a burgeoning literature, there are few quantitative and cross-national attempts aimed at verifying the explanatory potential of this conception. This thesis is addressed to contemporary democracies in the context of erosion of traditional political cleavages, growing heterogeneity of party programmes, and with respect to social underpinnings of political systems – to volatility of political preferences of the electorate, and diminishing importance of social class as a basis of party support (Dalton 1984; Poguntke / Webb 2005). The likely effects of these processes could be political destabilisation and lack of governance, and with respect to social structures – deconsolidation, chaos of norms and blurring of social hierarchies.

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