Individual socialization or politocultural context? The cultural roots of volunteering in Switzerland

Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle; Gundelach, Birte (2015). Individual socialization or politocultural context? The cultural roots of volunteering in Switzerland. Acta politica, 50(1), pp. 20-44. Palgrave Macmillan 10.1057/ap.2013.32

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Volunteering rates in Switzerland vary substantially across language regions. In this article, we investigate the cultural roots of this variation by presenting and empirically testing two different conceptualizations of how linguistic culture is related to individual volunteering. Whereas the first perspective perceives the individual as belonging to a particular language community and its norms and values as crucial for individual volunteering, the other sees the linguistic culture mainly as an important context in which an individual lives and which therefore influences individual volunteering. Empirically, we base our analysis on new survey data from 60 Swiss communes and apply a Bayesian multi-level analysis in order to disentangle the linguistic group from contextual effects. Our analysis supports the view that cultural patterns of civic self-organization can indeed explain regional volunteering behaviour in Switzerland. Whereas the propensity to volunteer is generally highest in German-speaking Switzerland, our findings reveal that it is the group of French speakers that exhibits the highest propensity to volunteer when controlling for language region.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Stadelmann, Isabelle, Gundelach, Birte


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Palgrave Macmillan




Dominique Anne Oehrli

Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2014 14:50

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:



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