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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Religiosity and Political Participation across Europe

P. 36-57.
Kulkova A.

European countries are culturally close, still showing great variance in political participation rates as well as in predominant religions and state-church relations experience, what makes this region a good case for comparative research. Given this, it becomes important to study if members of different confessions differ in political participation rates, or the main cleavage lies between religious and non-religious people regardless of religious tradition? Does Orthodoxy really lead to lower levels of political participation or what we see is the effect of political regime or Communist legacy? Statistical analysis results suggest that regular attendance of religious services and praying does increase chances to participate in politics. This pattern holds for followers of all major European religious traditions and in countries with different predominant religions. On the other hand, most inter-confessional differences in political participation appear weak and unstable, while both belonging to an Orthodox religious tradition and living in a predominantly Orthodox state exert a stable and negative effect on political participation. Additional tests suggest that there is no difference in political participation between Orthodox Christians from predominantly Orthodox states and those where they form only a minority. Consequently, it is something in a religious tradition itself that decreases political participation.