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Putting attitudes into context: Examining the impact of neighborhood characteristics on social and political attitudes

Project: Research

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This project concerns how individuals’ social and political attitudes are formed by the context in which they live. In the vein of classic works within sociology and political science such as Durkheim’s (1897) study of the social contingency of suicide and Key’s (1947) study of the influence of racial context on political participation, the project builds on the long-standing insight that social and political attitudes – and concomitant behaviors – cannot exclusively be understood as the results of individual-level factors, but are also influenced by the wider social environment in which individuals are embedded (Bowler, 1991; Huckfeldt & Sprague, 1993). That is, following Huckfeldt & Sprague (1993), we employ “a conception of political behavior that is characterized by multiple levels: individuals are to be understood within the larger social aggregates of which they are a part”. Specifically, we study if, when and how social interactions, in terms of exposure to and contact with other people in our immediate neighborhood, shape how we think and act socially and politically. To give but a few examples of research questions based on this line of reasoning: the characteristics of people we are surrounded by in our micro-context – their behavior as well as their social, economic and ethnic background – may influence our general perception of other people, how we look at ethnic minorities, our attitudes towards redistribution, and whether or not we engage in politics and our local community.
Effective start/end date01/01/201331/12/2016

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Research outputs

ID: 128961229