Values, Polarization, and Cultural Backlash?

Speakers of this first webinar of the EVS Webinar Series are Prof. Frédéric Gonthier and Dr. Marlene Mauk who will be presenting their works on polarization of democratic values, political trust and political values orientations. The discussion will be chaired by Morten Frederiksen.

The webinar takes place on March 4th, at 14 (CET). Please fill this form to register.

The EVS Webinar Series is organized by Morten Frederiksen, Vera Lomazzi, Natalia Soboleva

Portrait de gonthief

Frédéric Gonthier is Professor of Political Science and researcher at the Pacte-CNRS laboratory. His work focuses on opinions about the economy and the welfare state in France and Europe. His work has been published in international journals (European Journal of Political Research, Acta Politica, International Journal of Sociology, French Politics) and national journals (Revue française de science politique, Revue française de sociologie…). Frédéric Gonthier is also very involved in the production and promotion of international socio-political surveys (scientific director of the International Social Survey Programme for France, member of the Methodology Group of the European Values Study, director of the Major Socio-political Surveys Department of the TGIR Progedo).

He will present his recently published paper (with tristan Guerra): How Party Polarization Shapes the Structuring of Policy Preferences in Europe

Abstract: A significant body of literature has addressed the impact of party polarization on voting behavior. Yet little is known of the relationship between party polarization and belief systems. The present study argues that party polarization enhances the ideological consistency of belief systems and does so for the citizenry as a whole. We first demonstrate that the more party systems are polarized on economic and sociocultural issues, the more consistently belief systems are aligned with the progressive-conservative continuum. Second, we show that ideological consistency is greater in highly polarized party systems, not only among the most politically attuned Europeans but also among those with lower levels of political sophistication. Results have implications for our understanding of citizen competence and responsiveness to elite cues in polarized party systems.

Marlene Mauk

Marlene Mauk is a research associate in political science at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne. After studying political science and communication science in Germany and Norway, she obtained a Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from Mainz University. Her research interests lie in the field of political culture, with a focus on the comparison between democracies and autocracies; among other topics, she studies political trust and its sources, political value orientations, and different aspects of democratic quality. She is the author of “Citizen support for democratic and autocratic regimes” (Oxford University Press, 2020).

She will present her paper: Rebuilding Trust in Broken Systems? Populist Party Success and Citizens’ Trust in Democratic Institutions

Abstract: What effect does the recent rise of populist parties harnessing an anti-system rhetoric have on political trust? Will citizens become disenchanted with and lose trust in the political system, or could populist party success even stimulate a growth of political trust? Arguing that populist parties may well be conceived as a corrective force giving voice to and addressing citizen concerns about the established political system, this contribution hypothesizes that populist party success will increase political trust among the general public, especially in countries lacking democratic quality, with weak corruption control, and meagre government performance. Empirically, it combines ParlGov data with survey data from the European Social Survey (2002–2016) as well as aggregate data from the Varieties-of-Democracy project and the World Development Indicators to investigate how political trust has changed in relation to the growing success of populist parties and how democratic quality, corruption control, and government performance have moderated this relationship in 23 European democracies. Its main findings indicate that, at least in the short run, political trust increases rather than decreases following populist party success and that this increase in trust is most pronounced in political systems that lack democratic quality, struggle with corruption, and deliver only meager government performance.