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Political Disaffection

Political Disaffection in Europe’s Rust Belt Regions

Funding body: Early Career Grant from the Regional Studies Association

Grant Holder: Anne Marie Jeannet

Project Duration: 2017-2018

Project Description:

The aim of this project is to understand how a sustained decline in manufacturing has altered democratic life in affected societies. The central question of the project is: How has regional and local deindustrialization brought about a disenchantment with mainstream politics? This has to be dividedinto a series of sub-questions: 1. How has political disaffection evolved in rust belt regions and how do these trends compare to regions that have not undergone mass deindustrialization? 2. What are the mechanisms through which regional deindustrialization produces political disaffection? 3. How is political disaffection manifested in political participation in rust belt regions and are grievances
directed towards national or supranational institutions? The project focuses on two possible mechanisms through which deindustrialization produces a climate of political disaffection in a society which are based on opposing (but not mutually exclusive) theoretical traditions. The first mechanism is grounded in institutional theory and sees the origins of political disaffection as a rational process that is politically endogenous. The other possible mechanism is through “bottom-up” gradual cultural change that is exogenous to political institutions. According to this reasoning, deindustrialization may transform social relations, which is widely considered a necessary ingredient for democratic and civic life.

Last updated 18 October 2017 - 10:35:23