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The changing cleavage politics of Western Europe

The changing cleavage politics of Western Europe
The changing cleavage politics of Western Europe
How are the contours of Western European politics shifting? To what extent do these shifts reflect changes in the underlying social and economic structure of European polities? In this article, we reflect on insights from the classic literature on how cleavages structure party systems and consider how the emergence and persistence of new parties and new ideological conflicts are leading to both shifts of dividing lines of party competition and the fragmentation of party systems. While increasing attention has been given to the so-called second dimension of European electoral politics, we highlight the relatively limited focus on structural changes that are helping to drive this transformation. We identify some socio-demographic developments that are potentially generating new cleavages in Western European democracies: the expansion of higher education; mass migration and the growing ethnic diversity of electorates; the aging of societies and sharpening of generational divides; and increased geographical segregation of populations between prospering, globalized major cities and declining hinterlands.
1545-1577
295-314
Ford, Robert
f2f320f9-15df-4a16-ab41-505f831a5ed1
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Ford, Robert
f2f320f9-15df-4a16-ab41-505f831a5ed1
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7

Ford, Robert and Jennings, William (2020) The changing cleavage politics of Western Europe. Annual Review of Political Science, 23, 295-314. (doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-052217-104957).

Record type: Article

Abstract

How are the contours of Western European politics shifting? To what extent do these shifts reflect changes in the underlying social and economic structure of European polities? In this article, we reflect on insights from the classic literature on how cleavages structure party systems and consider how the emergence and persistence of new parties and new ideological conflicts are leading to both shifts of dividing lines of party competition and the fragmentation of party systems. While increasing attention has been given to the so-called second dimension of European electoral politics, we highlight the relatively limited focus on structural changes that are helping to drive this transformation. We identify some socio-demographic developments that are potentially generating new cleavages in Western European democracies: the expansion of higher education; mass migration and the growing ethnic diversity of electorates; the aging of societies and sharpening of generational divides; and increased geographical segregation of populations between prospering, globalized major cities and declining hinterlands.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 October 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 January 2020
Published date: 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436959
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436959
ISSN: 1545-1577
PURE UUID: dc36fae1-d775-4966-b167-c2c277d97efa
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

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Date deposited: 14 Jan 2020 17:32
Last modified: 16 May 2020 00:40

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Author: Robert Ford

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