Vem väljer vem och varför? : Om betydelsen av homosocialitet och personliga kontakter i partiers nomineringsprocesser


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Publication Details

Author list: Widenstjerna, Thomas

Publisher: Mid Sweden University

Place: Sundsvall

Publication year: 2020

Number of pages: 211

ISBN: 978-91-88947-32-1


The aim of this thesis was to study Swedish intra-party nomination processes for political appointments at the municipal, regional and national levels. This was accomplished by studying whether, and if so how, nomination processes are affected by identification and the existence of personal contacts and networks, based in part on homosociality and network capital. Homosociality proceeds from the assumption that people who are perceived as being similar are preferred at the expense of those perceived as different. Network capital is based on the premise that personal contacts and networks are a form of capital that can be accumulated and spent to achieve set goals, such as being nominated for a political appointment. The empirical material comprises 32 semi-structured in-depth interviews with members of nomination committees (selectors) in the Västernorrland region of Sweden that participated in nomination processes in connection with local, regional and national elections in 2010 and 2014. The respondents were selected through snowball sampling and were asked during the interviews how they believe their personal views on candidates and personal networks affect the selection processes of nomination committees. The analysis shows that nomination committees preferred candidates whom they perceived to be similar to them, in ways including socioeconomic factors, age, gender, or geographical origins. The analysis also shows that access to personal contacts often determined whether or not a candidate was nominated. This was partly because personal contacts worked as references for new politicians that were used to ameliorate the risk of nominating individuals who might be perceived as unsuitable and partly because people in the networks of selectors or those of their friends and family were often regarded as more credible. Another observation was the central role of the local level in the parties’ recruitment and nomination activities. The analysis also showed that long-term political experience at the local level was usually required of the people who stood as candidates for regional or national political appointments. Lacking local experience, the opportunity to be nominated for these appointments was virtually nil. As well, the analysis showed that homosociality can promote the formation of network capital, as people who perceive that they are similar each other are attracted to each other and form networks that become part of overall network capital.


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