This paper analyses the changing links between religion, politics and voting behaviour in the last thirty years from an Italian perspective. After a brief description of the changes that occurred in the relations between religiosity and the vote in Italy in the last decades, we contrast the explanations of these changes by two theories of political change. The starting point of both theories is that the relation between social identities, namely religious identities, and party choice has weakened. However, the first theory, called here Partisan Dealignment theory (Dalton, Flanagan, Beck, 1984; Norris, Inglehart, 2004), proposes an exclusively sociological explanation of these changes, while the second theory, called here Politics Matters theory (Thomassen, 2005), underlines the fact that the political and institutional context can interact with social change in defining and constraining the political behaviour of citizens. The test of the different hypotheses derived from the two theories is based on the empirical evidence from four Italian electoral surveys (1972, 1985, 2001 and 2006). The finding suggests that, similarly to what happened in the Netherlands, in Italy the relation between religiosity, ideology and party choice was mainly influenced by changes in the political-institutional sphere (namely, the almost complete change of the political alternatives – parties and coalitions – available and the reform of the electoral law at the beginning of the 90s). The strong process of secularization of Italian society only warrants that, after its disappearance, the religious cleavage will not come back to life in the same form it had before, even if political entrepreneurs or parties will try to mobilize voters using religious appeals.
|Titolo:||Religion and Politics in Italian Electoral Choice : Which comes First in the New Century Electoral Divisions?|
SEGATTI, PAOLO (Primo)
VEZZONI, CRISTIANO (Ultimo)
|Parole Chiave:||religiosity ; secularization ; voting behaviour ; Italy ; electoral change|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SPS/11 - Sociologia dei Fenomeni Politici|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|