The Social Background of Political Action
The task in this chapter is to discover to what extent political action is concentrated in some social groups and not in others. This is a mundane task but an important one. It will help us understand much that follows. If it were to be found, for example, that political activity was randomly distributed among all kinds and classes of people, that there was no baseline model after all, then all the explanation of political action would have to be sought in people’s minds. Only beliefs, feelings, values and attitudes and their responses to specific events would account for their behaviour. This is unlikely. Political sociology has long established that people’s age, sex, education, jobs, religion and so on have a profound effect on their political behaviour. Since political conflict between parties reflects social cleavages within society, it is hardly surprising that membership of a distinct social constituency will influence one’s vote. On the other hand, rates of political involvement can be ideologically neutral. If active partisans are mobilised by all parties, why should rates of activity be reflected in social structure?
KeywordsPolitical Action Baseline Model Political Participation Good Education Social Background
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