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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-54836

Geser, Hans (2012). Self-guided and Party-guided ideological orientations. A comparative study of municipal politicians in Switzerland. Sociology in Switzerland: Politik und Parteien im Wandel 19, University of Zurich.



In a study comprising about 8000 members of Swiss municipal executive boards, it was analyzed to what degree self placements on the left right scale were based on self-guided judgments (=opinions about specific issues) or on party-guided impacts (= ideological standing of respective parties). Using multivariate linear regressions, it was found both couplings were far more pronounced on the left side on the political spectrum than on the center and to the right. Party guidance correlates positively with community size with the size of the executive, the communal influence of local parties and the application of proportional (instead of majoritarian) election rules. In addition, it was higher in the case of incumbents highly supported by parties in election campaign and occupying formal intraparty positions. On the other hand, self-guided ideologization is over average in the case of incumbents with university degrees, high political interest and those give more weight to “personal conviction” than to public opinion, party positions or other board members when they make their political decisions. Finally, some indications were found that the levels of self-guided as well as party-guided ideology are lowered by the “pragmatic pressures” associated with consociations democracy and collegial decision making within the boards, but that both ideological orientations may be on the rise in younger generations.


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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Date:January 2012
Deposited On:16 Apr 2012 07:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:21
Series Name:Sociology in Switzerland: Politik und Parteien im Wandel
Number of Pages:40
Official URL:http://socio.ch/par/ges_19.pdf

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