Socialist values and political participation in Germany: a barrier to "inner unity"?

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Abstract

One of the defining features of post-reunified East German political culture has been an enduring affinity for socialism. Although firmly opposed to the pre-1989 one-party state, a sizeable majority of East Germans nevertheless continue to value socialism. Whilst much scholarly research has investigated the strength and depth of socialist values, as well as their sources, comparatively little is known about their consequences, about if and how socialist values matter. This article seeks to redress this by examining linkages between socialist values and political participation, asking whether socialist values are merely passive, romanticised expressions, the effects of which are largely benign, or whether they have real-life behavioural consequences for democracy. Exploring this question using ALLBUS data from East Germany, five hypotheses are tested at the individual level. The results strongly demonstrate that socialist values impact upon social capital and electoral behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-383
Number of pages21
JournalWest European Politics
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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