Parochialism and Voting for the Radical Right: How Cultural “Remoteness” Affects Voting Behavior in Germany

29.04.2019 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Daniel Bischof, PhD
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Zurich

While an enormous body of research investigates what drives radical right voting, we know comparatively little about the cultural roots of this phenomenon. We add to this research agenda by investigating how cultural remoteness of regions affects voting for the radical right in Germany. We develop the concept of “parochialism”, to argue that voters in regions with a strong in-group identity culturally removed from the dominant national political community are more likely to vote for radical right parties. Voters in parochial social networks (marked by high in-group trust but high mistrust towards outsiders) are likely to regard presence of outsiders as more threatening than cosmopolitan voters. We approximate cultural remoteness and the presence of parochial socia networks by relying on linguistic micro-data from a unique dialectic survey conducted in the 19th century in 45,000 German schools. Using voting results on the district level we then predict voting for the Alternative für Deutschland in recent German elections. In line with our theoretical argument, we find that greater cultural remoteness (i.e. higher parochialism) predicts radical right voting in Germany. Our findings have important implications for studies of extremism and the radical right.