The effects of regional attachment on ideological self-placement: a comparative approach

Abstract

The capacity of the left–right scale to summarize most political issues can be challenged by the salience of the center–periphery cleavage. However, the existing literature does not agree on whether both attitudinal dimensions are related and, if so, to what extent. In this paper, we argue that both axes can have a dependency relationship, going from the latter to the former. Our main argument is that individuals with a strong regional attachment will assume a more progressive stance on the left–right axis regardless of their positions on the economic and cultural issues, and that this relationship is reinforced by contextual characteristics of the region such as internal homogeneity and external distinctiveness. We test our arguments by using the survey data from the Making Electoral Democracy Work project, which has data for 11 regions in 5 different countries.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The exact wording for this question was “Where would you place yourself on a scale from left to right?”; the poles of the horizontal axis were labeled 0 = far left, and 10 = far right.

  2. 2.

    Note that this indicator also accounts for internal homogeneity of the region. Nevertheless, what we imply by including it in our analyses is that regions with several languages harbor a regional distinctive language (along with native speakers of the national main language), while in homogeneous regions individuals most likely speak the main language of the nation.

  3. 3.

    Among the 11 cases included in the dataset, Lucerne is actually a Swiss canton corresponding to a NUTS3 category in the European context. We have opted to use data corresponding to Central Switzerland, the statistical region of NUTS2 level where Lucerne is included for statistical purposes.

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Galais, C., Serrano, I. The effects of regional attachment on ideological self-placement: a comparative approach. Comp Eur Polit 18, 487–509 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-019-00196-z

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Keywords

  • Ideology
  • Territorial attachment
  • Regions
  • Center–periphery