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dc.contributor.advisorHill, Lisa-
dc.contributor.advisorMacIntyre, Clement-
dc.contributor.authorClark, Jesse Erich Schultz-
dc.description.abstractOver the last half century Australia has experienced palpable declines in political party satisfaction, identification, confidence and participation. Evidence suggests that the trend toward party disengagement undermines representative democracy by eroding the ability of party organisations to act as conduits between majority will and government. Although there is substantial analysis available into how value orientations, social capital and interpersonal trust influence confidence and involvement in political institutions, relatively little research exists on the network homogenising causes of declining party involvement, something this thesis seeks to address by conducting a close study of this phenomenon in the Australian context. It is argued in this thesis that the decline in party engagement can largely be attributed to rising levels of ‘social modularity’, by which is meant the flexibility to both forge and discontinue social connections. This raised degree of social modularity is found to be facilitating a replacement of ‘bridging’ social capital with ‘bonding’ social capital thereby altering skills and experiences and social and political tolerance and expectations. Increased social autonomy is associated with the post-industrial stage of development; consequently, the findings of this investigation into political sociological trends in Australia are likely to be applicable to most other post-industrial democracies. This thesis draws on my own survey findings as well as raw data from Australian World Values Survey (WVS) waves. The latter were analysed to produce age stratified frequency and correlation statistics. WVS waves provide an invaluable source of data from which trends in values, interpersonal trust, institutional confidence, generosity and community and civic involvement can be analysed. These statistics are supplemented by Pearson correlations collated from responses to the questions posed in my own detailed ‘Political Participation & Conflict Avoidance Survey’, in which 36 subjects participated. Social network homogenisation is found to be linked to a post-industrial generational attitudinal shift from an emphasis on conformity and hierarchical survival values to autonomy and egalitarian self-expression values. That is, statistics reveal that a Self-Expression Values Homogenous Social Network (SEVHSN) Complex now exists. The statistics also show that, and suggest reasons why party confidence, identification and engagement are negatively correlated with immersion in the Complex. Additionally, statistics presented indicate that an increasing proportion of the Australian population is becoming more heavily embedded in the Complex (largely through generational replacement). They also reveal that Complex-immersion is mainly being driven by trends associated with greater social modularity and empowerment (brought about by post-industrialisation). These trends relate to technology use, economic development/financial security, education attainment and news/information dissemination. The statistical analysis present in this thesis suggests that my Homogenisation arguments may have better explanatory power than the two dominant rival sociological engagement theories: Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel’s ‘Modernisation’ and Robert Putnam’s ‘Lamentation’ theories, both of which are critically evaluated.en
dc.titleNetwork Homogenisation & Party Disengagement: The Political Sociology of Post-Industrial Democracies: An Australian Case Studyen
dc.contributor.schoolSchool of Social Sciences : Politics and International Relationsen
dc.provenanceThis electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
dc.description.dissertationThesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2018en
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