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Individual socialization or polito-cultural context? The cultural roots of volunteering in Switzerland


Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle; Gundelach, Birte (2015). Individual socialization or polito-cultural context? The cultural roots of volunteering in Switzerland. Acta Politica, 50(1):20-44.

Abstract

Volunteering rates in Switzerland vary substantially across language regions. In this article, we investigate the cultural roots of this variation by presenting and empirically testing two different conceptualizations of how linguistic culture is related to individual volunteering. Whereas the first perspective perceives the individual as belonging to a particular language community and its norms and values as crucial for individual volunteering, the other sees the linguistic culture mainly as an important context in which an individual lives and which therefore influences individual volunteering. Empirically, we base our analysis on new survey data from 60 Swiss communes and apply a Bayesian multi-level analysis in order to disentangle the linguistic group from contextual effects. Our analysis supports the view that cultural patterns of civic self-organization can indeed explain regional volunteering behaviour in Switzerland. Whereas the propensity to volunteer is generally highest in German-speaking Switzerland, our findings reveal that it is the group of French speakers that exhibits the highest propensity to volunteer when controlling for language region.

Volunteering rates in Switzerland vary substantially across language regions. In this article, we investigate the cultural roots of this variation by presenting and empirically testing two different conceptualizations of how linguistic culture is related to individual volunteering. Whereas the first perspective perceives the individual as belonging to a particular language community and its norms and values as crucial for individual volunteering, the other sees the linguistic culture mainly as an important context in which an individual lives and which therefore influences individual volunteering. Empirically, we base our analysis on new survey data from 60 Swiss communes and apply a Bayesian multi-level analysis in order to disentangle the linguistic group from contextual effects. Our analysis supports the view that cultural patterns of civic self-organization can indeed explain regional volunteering behaviour in Switzerland. Whereas the propensity to volunteer is generally highest in German-speaking Switzerland, our findings reveal that it is the group of French speakers that exhibits the highest propensity to volunteer when controlling for language region.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:volunteering, linguistic culture, socialization, context, Bayesian multi-level analysis, Swiss communes
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:04 Feb 2015 13:56
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:46
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
ISSN:0001-6810
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2013.32

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