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Political Culture

Contact: Mag.a Martina Zandonella

Since SORA’s foundation, such issues as xenophobia and authoritarianism, young people’s political participation or migrant integration belong to the main areas of our work.  – In basic research projects we examine the preconditions for a living democracy and the emergence as well as the shaping of political attitudes. We also examine school and school system-related aspects of political education as well as their effects on political behaviour and the willingness to participate.

We bring the expertise from these mostly publically funded projects to the applied political research and consulting. The purpose of our work is to contribute to democratic politics and a democratic society by showing action possibilities for the improvement of participation and integration by particular population groups. To do so, we draw on our long-term experience and methodological expertise in researching electoral behavior and political participation.

Key topics:

From 2003 to 2005, within the scope of the key topic Youth and Politics, SORA coordinated the transnational project EUYOUPART on political interest and forms of political expression and action among European youth. Further studies followed on such topics as “Voting with 16” in Austria, participation in the Federal Government’s democracy initiative “Entscheidend bist Du!”, and currently there is the major International Civics and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) on political education in Austria.

A further key topic can be found in the research projects on migrant participation and integration. In a multidisciplinary approach factors affecting the migrants’ willingness to political participation as well as the backgrounds for discrimination, xenophobia or Islamophobia are also studied.

Selected projects:

Social and psychological conditions of young men without high-school diploma (2011-2013): The financial and economic crisis has greatly affected the European youth. In an interdisciplinary study on account of the Ministry for Social Affairs and the Chamber of Workers, SORA has analysed the social and biographic processes at work in the group of young men without high-school diploma with a view to building evidence for policies of empowerment.

Analyses of the study “Voting at 16” (2008): By reducing the voting age to 16 years, Austria has taken on a pioneering role regarding involvement of young people in politics. SORA, the Institute for Strategy Analyses and Dr Ulrike Kozeluh have jointly conducted a comprehensive post-election study on the 2008 general election among 16 to 18-year-olds. The results of the study allow insights into the political attitudes, values and behaviour patterns of young people in Austria. MORE...

E-voting in the Students’ Union elections (2008-2009): SORA accompanied the first implementation of e-voting in the Austrian Students’ Union elections in May 2009 with a series of studies. In a multi-methodological study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, the students’ attitudes and perspectives, mass media and political discourses as well as perspectives of experts and the electoral commission were acquired and assessed.

Authoritarianism in Central Europe (2006-2008): How much authoritarian potential is there in democratic and also (formerly) totalitarian societies? This question was examined in a study for the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria that was carried out in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. For this purpose SORA developed the suitable acquisition instrument and coordinated the implementation in the participating countries.

Cooperations (selection):

  • Institut für Strategieanalysen (ISA)
  • University of Innsbruck
  • Bernard Fournier (Université de Liège)
  • Finnish Youth Research Network
  • DJI – Deutsches Jugendinstitut

Selected publications:

Ringler, Paul et al. (2013): Internet und Demokratie in Österreich. Grundlagenstudie. SORA Forschungsbericht.

Zandonella, Martina / Zeglovits, Eva (2012): Young Men and their Vote for the Radical Right in Austria. In: Politics, Culture and Socialization, Vol. 3, Issue 1-2, pp. 63-80.

Zandonella, Martina / Ogris, Günther (2011): Understanding and Fighting Xenophobia in Political Campaigns. In: Christoph Hofinger / Gerlinde Manz-Christ (Hg.:) Emotions in Politics and Campaigning: How Neuroscience, Linguistics, and Social Psychology Change the Political Profession. New Delhi, Sydney.

Rathkolb, Oliver / Ogris, Günther (Hg.) (2010): Authoritarianism, History and Democratic Dispositions in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, Innsbruck, Wien, Bozen: Studienverlag.

Perlot, Flooh / Zandonella, Martina (2010): Wählen mit 16 – Jugendliche und Politik in Österreich, in: SWS Rundschau 49/4, S. 429-445.

Schwarzer, Steve / Zeglovits, Eva (2009): Wissensvermittlung, Politische Erfahrungen und Politisches Bewusstsein als Aspekte Politischer Bildung sowie deren Bedeutung für Politische Partizipation. In: Politische Bildung revisited, ÖZP 3 / 2009, S.325-340.

Schwarzer, Steve / Wallner, Cornelia (2009): Don’t jump over acceptability before implementing e-voting. Social acceptability and its conditions of e-participation. In: Prosser, Alexander / Parycek, Peter (eds.): EDEM09 – Conference on Electronic Democracy. Vienna: OCG. S. 259-265.

Spannring, Reingard / Ogris, Günther / Gaiser, Wolfgang (Hg.) (2008): Youth and political participation in Europa. Results of the comparative study of EUYOUPART. Opladen, Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers.

Thalhammer, Eva / Zucha, Vlasta / Enzenhofer, Edith / Salfinger, Brigitte / Ogris, Günther (2001): Attitudes towards minority groups in the European Union. A special analysis of the Eurobarometer 2000 survey, European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, Vienna.