Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Identity, Civic Duty and Electoral Participation: Causes of Variation in Electoral Participation
by Foster, Matthew F., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2018, 143; 10825816
Abstract (Summary)

What causes variation in the turnout of an individual from election to election? Most individual level predictors of turnout can account for the propensity of an individual to vote but fail to account for changes in turnout behavior. Broad aggregate factors can account for variation in turnout trends from election to election but fail to account for changes in turnout at the individual level. In this dissertation I argue that civic duty can capture the variation that typical predictors of voter turnout cannot. Civic duty can account for variation in the turnout of high and low propensity voters, as well as distinguish why some groups turnout in one election and other groups turnout in another. The capacity of civic duty to capture such variation comes from the sensitivity of civic duty to the saliency of identities and the competing group concerns they generate. Civic duty motivates an individual to vote due to a sense of obligation that is generated by multiple group identities, with these identities either complementing each other and enhancing a sense of civic duty or conflicting with each other and diminishing such a sense. I apply and test such theory using the case of the 2017 British general election. With this case I find that civic duty can uniquely capture a sense of European identity, as well as the variation in salience of such identity that can account for the highly unexpected turnout of Millennials in 2017.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fitzgerald, Jennifer
Commitee: Baker, Andy, Hammer, Paul, Jupille, Joseph, Scarritt, James R.
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social psychology, Political science
Keywords: British politics, Civic duty, Elections, Identity, Turnout, Voting behavior
Publication Number: 10825816
ISBN: 9780438382527
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