The Transformation of Religious Cleavages in European Democracies: A Comparative Analysis

07.03.2022 - 12:00
A 5,6 Raum A 231 und online via Zoom
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
PD Dr. Kamil Marcinkiewicz
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
Universität Hamburg

Of all socio-demographic factors, religion is one of the most important determinants of voting behavior. The secularization of Western societies, however, has changed its role. Secularization limits the political relevance of religion, but it likely affects the nature of religious cleavages too. Evidence from the United States suggests that a decrease of denominational differences goes hand in hand with increased relevance of religiosity. As a result, a divide between the secular sections of the society and a cross-denominational coalition of the most religious voters has emerged. In this paper, we examine whether such a change also occurs in Europe. Combining data from six rounds of European Social Survey (ESS) and information on parties’ positions from the Chapel Hill Expert Surveys (CHES), we compare the explanatory power of different measures of religion in models of vote choice, with a focus on the contrast between religious denomination and religiosity. To gain insights on a likely transformation of the religious cleavage, from a cleavage based on denomination to one where religiosity polarizes citizens, we focus on changes in the role of religion for members of different birth cohorts.