Sociologists dr. Kjell Noordzij, prof.dr. Willem de Koster, and prof.dr. Jeroen van der Waal from the Erasmus University Rotterdam have won the prestigious BJS Prize for their article A revolt of the deplored? The role of perceived cultural distance in the educational gradient in anti-establishment politics.
In the awarded article, Noordzij, De Koster, and Van der Waal propose and test a novel explanation for why less-educated citizens have more political discontent than their more-educated counterparts. This striking pattern characterizes many liberal democracies, including the Netherlands, but conventional explanations regarding political knowledge and economic position cannot fully account for it.
In their prize-winning study, the authors show that less-educated citizens believe that politicians are distant to their life-world and feel looked down on by them. Using unique nationally representative Dutch data, they demonstrate that such perceived cultural distance is more important than conventional explanations for understanding differences between educational groups when it comes to political distrust, populist attitudes, and voting for right-wing populist parties.
The authors’ novel explanation revolving around the importance of perceived cultural distance promises to be relevant for understanding a wide range of social differences in political attitudes and behaviours. In addition, it opens new pathways for mitigating contemporary political conflicts.
The BJS Prize is awarded for an article published in the British Journal of Sociology during a 24-month period that makes an outstanding contribution to increasing sociological knowledge. Kjell Noordzij received the prize during a ceremony at the BJS Annual Lecture at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London.
The awarded article can be found here (open access): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-4446.12892