#democracy #politics #economy
We explore attitudes toward democracy in relation to social divisions by focusing on the European Union member states and the corresponding EU political field. Positioning in the European political field is addressed through the theory of social fields as provided by Bourdieu and further conceptualized by Fligstein and McAdam. Drawing on the data obtained from the European Social Survey, we conducted a principal component analysis of the attitudes toward democracy and a correspondence analysis between these attitudes and social, cultural, and economic capitals. We demonstrate that attitudes toward challenging the existing representative democratic order can be seen in terms of two distinct dimensions: authoritarianism and populism. The presence of both corresponds to the lack of one’s possession of economic, social, and cultural capitals and the related political habitus. Those who lack these forms of capital are more prone to support strong authoritarian leaders and are also more likely to endorse conspiracy theories. We can relate this to the problems of exclusion and deprivation related to the lack of political habitus required for effective agency in the political field.