Sarah Perry
The Origins of Local Identity

ECPR General Conference, University of Glasgow, 03. bis 06. September 2014

Feelings of attachment to the political community are considered a central precondition for the functioning of democracy. As such, they are often explained through socialization and life satisfaction. In cities, which are characterized by small territory and small population; close spatial proximity offers many other plausible explanations why residents would feel attached. Utilizing data from the survey conducted in the course of the Democracy Audit in the German city of Mannheim in 2012 and 2013, this analysis finds that of the many possible considerations it is the satisfactory delivery of common goods by municipal politics as well as life satisfaction, but also formal social and political participation within the city which successfully contribute to citizens’ local identity. Other hypotheses based on the socialization argument fail in explaining feelings of attachment to the city. Moreover, contextual factors appear not to have any influence.