Talking Politics? Educational Category Salience Reinforces Differences in People's Willingness to Participate in Deliberative Initiatives

Bram Spruyt*, Toon Kuppens, Russell Spears, Jochem van Noord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Against the background of an ever-growing body of literature that documents educational differentials in different forms of political participation, scholars have started to study whether education itself becomes the object of intergroup behavior. Informed by social identity theory and self-categorization theory, we examine whether making educational categories and the associated status differences salient affects people's prospective political participation. Two large survey experiments carried out in samples from Flanders (Belgium; N = 1,097) and the United States (N = 629) were used to assess categorization effects of education on people's willingness to participate in deliberative political-participation initiatives. In general, our results indicated that rendering educational categories salient increased educational differentials in prospective political participation in a way that is disadvantageous to the less educated. We elaborate on the implications of our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-478
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020


  • deliberative initiatives
  • education
  • political interest
  • political participation
  • self-categorization theory
  • survey experiments
  • SELF

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