English title: The imaginary countryside? Survey questions and concepts of residence

Author(s): Maarit Felicitas Ströbele -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2012


By explaining divergences between objective and subjective place of residence with historical narratives, the paper points at a problem of statistical data analysis of political behaviour and attitudes related to different settlement patterns in Europe, asking the question of valid comparability: Can we trust the subjective meas-ure of the place of residence in European social science surveys used for comparative analyses, if the answer to the survey questions is heavily influenced by (national or regional) discourses related to urban landscapes and national identity? Is the way we perceive our place of residence connected to our worldviews? The paper provides an insight in the relationship between political discourses related to national identity and suburbanisation, using this background as an illustration of problems with the measurement of information about the survey respondents’ residence. Including subjective measures of residence may not lead to comparable results in cross-national studies if the answer categories do not match the same common perceptions of certain places in the countries studied. Survey questions asking about (subjective) residence have to take into account typical residence cate-gories of the surveyed country (or group of countries) in order to ensure data validity. A possible solution for the problem lies in the use of objective measures of the place of residence based on the respondents’ residen-tial postal codes. However, as the paper shows, subjective measures of residence can be an interesting re-search variable in itself. The paper concentrates mainly on findings from Switzerland, using the ESS. Analyses on other countries are taken for comparison.

Conference name: SVPW/ASSP Annual Congress

Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Start date: Feb 2, 2012

Type: Paper

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