Cultural Theory and Party Identification – Investigating a Link in ACF Research
The existence of belief systems is a core assumption of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) to explain individual actors’ values, attitudes, and behaviour in policy processes. While the operationalization and measurement of policy core beliefs in surveys mostly draws on specific questions on policy-related opinions (Leach and Sabatier 2005; Vogeler and Bandelow 2018), the assessment of deep normative core beliefs remains contested (Sabatier and Brasher 1993; Sotirov and Winkel 2016). When transferring the ACF to European democracies, the role of parties in presenting and producing individual actors’ beliefs has been only addressed marginally, although existing research in political science establishes a link between core values and party identification (Goren 2005). Instead, cultural theory has been applied frequently to measure deep normative core beliefs, which then are depicted as cultural worldviews (Jenkins-Smith et al. 2014). With regard to parties, Jenkins-Smith et al. (2014) postulate that the application of cultural worldviews and associated deep normative core beliefs is rather suitable for two-party systems due to the unidimensional scale on which party competition usually takes place.
The proposed paper aims at providing empirical evidence for the measurement of deep normative core beliefs and cultural theory by using the widely acknowledged and extensive European Social Survey dataset of 2018. By conducting a factor analysis of the items reflecting the two dimensions of cultural theory, the paper reveals the underlying worldviews and cross-checks them with the party identification of individuals. As a consequence, the analysis allows for answering the question how different political systems enable different cultural worldviews and how these relate to the respective party systems in European countries. Its results therefore provide guidance for future empirical research on the ACF and cultural theory.
Goren, Paul. 2005. "Party Identification and Core Political Values." American Journal of Political Science 49 (4):881-96.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank, Carol L. Silva, Kuhika Gupta, and Joseph T. Ripberger. 2014. "Belief System Continuity and Change in Policy Advocacy Coalitions: Using Cultural Theory to Specify Belief Systems, Coalitions, and Sources of Change." Policy Studies Journal 42 (4):484-508.
Leach, William D., and Paul A. Sabatier. 2005. "To Trust an Adversary: Integrating Rational and Psychological Models of Collaborative Policymaking." American Political Science Review 99 (4):491-503.
Sabatier, Paul A., and Anne M. Brasher. 1993. "From Vague Consensus to Clearly Differentiated Coalitions: Environmental Policy at Lake Tahoe." In Policy Change and Learning: An Advocacy Coalition Approach, edited by Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, 177-208. Boulder Colorado: Westview Press.
Sotirov, Metodi, and Georg Winkel. 2016. "Toward a Cognitive Theory of Shifting Coalitions and Policy Change: Linking the Advocacy Coalition Framework and Cultural Theory." Policy Sciences 49 (2):125-54.
Vogeler, Colette, S., and Nils C. Bandelow. 2018. "Mutual and Self Perceptions of Opposing Advocacy Coalitions: Devil Shift and Angel Shift in a German Policy Subsystem." Review of Policy Research 0 (0). doi: 10.1111/ropr.12299.
This paper is dedicated to the panel "Theoretical and Methodological Innovations for Policy Process Frameworks".