SOCIAL-STRUCTURE AND VOTING PREFERENCES - AN OBJECTION TO THE INDIVIDUALIZATION THESIS

Authors
Citation
W. Muller, SOCIAL-STRUCTURE AND VOTING PREFERENCES - AN OBJECTION TO THE INDIVIDUALIZATION THESIS, Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 49(4), 1997, pp. 747
Citations number
11
Language
TEDESCO
art.tipo
Article
ISSN journal
0023-2653
Volume
49
Issue
4
Year of publication
1997
Database
ISI
SICI code
0023-2653(1997)49:4<747:SAVP-A>2.0.ZU;2-I
Abstract
The article discusses the attempt by Schnell and Kohler (published 199 5 in this journal) to test empirically the individualization thesis by showing that the power of socio-demographic variables to predict voti ng preferences for political parties has declined. It is argued and sh own that the results by Schnell and Kohler are to a considerable exten t artifacts of the procedures used. The operationalization for social class used by Schnell and Kohler partly predetermines the. findings, b ecause it does not account for class differences which became decisive for voting patterns in more recent years. The statistical measures us ed by Schnell and Kohler are inadequate to prove the declining effects of group membership for individual action, and they overestimate resp ective developments. A re-analysis of the data shows that change in th e effects of several variables is less marked than found by Schnell an d Kohler and does not only occur in the direction of decline. Therefor e, the findings of Schnell and Kohler are unable to prove that decline occurred via theoretically-postulated mechanism, namely that membersh ip in an increasing number of social circles - assumed to increase wit h modernization - in general leads to declining effects of socio-demog raphic variables.