A new study reveals the extent of political disparities between cities and rural areas throughout Europe, suggesting that political polarization in the 21st century may be largely site-to-place. There is research to do.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge analyzed survey data collected between 2002 and 2018 to measure the social and civic attitudes of people in cities, towns and rural areas in 30 European countries.
The findings are based on a “gradient” of disillusionment and distrust of democracy that increases as the political division of the entire continent moves from the center of the city through the suburbs, towns and villages to an open country. Is shown.
People in more rural areas of Europe have the least confidence in their current political system, but they are much more likely to actually vote for elections than people in urban areas.
People living in the suburbs, then in towns, and then in the countryside, are increasingly likely to consider themselves politically conservative and have anti-immigrant and anti-EU views. City residents Lean to the left.
However, it is not the poorest rural areas that are most disillusioned, with residents of small towns and rural areas reporting much higher levels of life satisfaction, complaining about democratic institutions.
Researchers at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and the Faculty of Land Economics in Cambridge can see a return to the severe political division of urban and rural areas in the early 20th century, a “serious geographical collapse” in European society. It states that it suggests.
“People living outside Europe’s major city centers have much less confidence in politics,” said study co-author Michael Kenny of the Bennett Institute. “The disenchantment of more rural areas has provided fertile soil for nationalist and populist parties and causes. This trend is likely to continue.”
“Mainstream politicians trying to reach out to the inhabitants of small towns and villages must provide economic opportunities, but with feelings of separation from mainstream politics and changes associated with a more globalized economy. Also need to be dealt with, “he said.
Throughout Western Europe, rural residents are more likely to vote 33.5% on average than urban residents, but are 16 likely to report party confidence increased by one unit on a scale of 0 to 10. % Is low. They are also much less likely to engage in political action such as protests and boycotts.
Conservatism gradually increases as the place moves from the suburbs to the town to the countryside. Rural Europeans are, on average, 57% more likely to feel closer to one point to the right of the political spectrum than city dwellers (on a 5-centered 10-point scale).
When asked if immigrants and the EU “enrich national culture,” rural Europeans disagree with one unit on a 10-unit scale, 55% more than urban people.
However, no distinction between urban and rural areas was detected for the issue of trust in the welfare state and the police, both symbols of postwar rhetorical battles. “Worries about law and welfare may no longer be the key to European political geography in our new populist era,” Kenny said.
last year, Research from Bennett Institute Revealing a global decline in satisfaction with democracy, the latest research suggests that this is the most serious in rural areas, at least in Europe.
From education to age, even after discounting traits commonly thought to influence political attitudes, researchers found that rural residential people were one unit of democratic satisfaction over urban people. We found that we were 10% more likely to report a decline (on a scale of 0 to 10).
“We have found that the current pattern of political disillusionment has geographical conditions,” said Dr. David Luka of the Department of Land and Economic Affairs, co-author of the currently published study. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society..
“As the magic unravels in the European hinterland, there is a risk that democratic politics will be eroded from the inside by those who are engaged in elections but distrust the system and are drawn to populist anti-system parties. There is. “
Of the 30 countries they examined (Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in addition to EU27), France had the sharpest urban and rural disparities in political attitudes. “Big cities such as Paris and Lyon are highly globalized and full of bohemian people called’Bobos’, but small towns and rural areas are predominantly home to long-term immigrants and indigenous working classes. I’m out, “said Luka.
Not so noticeable across the channel, but this trend is still very noticeable in the UK. “Cambridge is a prime example,” explains Luka. “While the center has some of the world’s leading labs and businesses, Cambridge is one of the UK’s least unequal cities, and Fenland’s market town is further separated from the city’s ultra-globalized core. . “
Luka added: “The aging population of small towns and villages combined with austerity years Rural— Services that are often central to the social connections needed for a prosperous community.
“Restoring these services may be the key to reducing the political disparities that emerge between urban and rural populations throughout Europe.”
Michael Kenny et al, Political Disillusionment Urban and Rural Polarization: A Survey of Social and Political Attitudes in 30 European Countries, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society (2021). DOI: 10.1093 / cjres / rsab012
University of Cambridge
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Political disparities across Europe emerging between cities and countryside: research
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