Sociology Day – The Preparation!

In less than 12 hours, they Dag van de Sociologie (Annual Meeting of the Dutch and Flemish Sociological Associations) takes place at the VUB Free University of Brussels. During this day, more than 200 sociologists from Belgium, the Netherlands and abroad gather to exchange recent research insights. In addition, the board of the Dutch Sociological Association (of which I am part of) will gather, and the Master Thesis Prize (which I was the secretary for) will be awarded (more about that tomorrow).

In the meanwhile, I’m happy to present a paper that I recently wrote together with Koen Abts. In this paper, we test a proposition put forward by Christian Bjørnskov. In a 2007 paper, he argues that parliamentary monarchies bring about social trust. The logic behind it is that while partisan politics can be quite divisive, the King might serve as a uniting and binding factor, and might serve as a common national conscience that stands above social tensions. Further positive effects are described in Pippa Norris‘ 2008 book on power-sharing institutions. Our paper brings this argument down at the individual level, and questions whether people with positive opinions about the monarchy are more trusting. Analyzing the 2014 wave of the Belgian National Election Study, we actually show a negative relationship: those skeptical about the monarchy are actually most trusting. Because this relationship is particularly strong in Flanders (while absent in Wallonia), we actually question the extent to which the monarchy in Belgium is a uniting force that brings about social cohesion.

The slides can be retrieved from SlideShare!

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