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The unequal nature of political citizenship in Europe: a discussion of some results from the European Social Survey (2008)

Nuno Nunes
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Nuno Nunes
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper seeks to understand to what extent European citizens’ political actions and attitudes are conditioned by certain social inequalities, especially those of a structural nature, which characterise contemporary societies. How do social living conditions, school attainment and economic and symbolic resources produce social hierarchies that reflect different forms of accepting or rejecting political participation? On the basis of the latest European Social Survey (2008), we work on two composite indicators– political satisfaction and interest in politics. They make it possible to compare European’s level of political citizenship and, in articulation with an analysis of social inequalities, to delimit the social categories that distance themselves most from politics in each European country. We also present data on low levels of party militancy (found in practically all European countries) and analyse the main social characteristics of political party members in the European social space.