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„Party Systems and Voter Alignments“gehört in diesen thematischen Zusammenhang. Einleitungskapitels „Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction“ avancierte es zu Download to read the full chapter text.
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Class Politics and the Radical Right. The micro-sociological model was developed in the early s by Paul F. A milestone of modern electoral research, it was also criticized for its methodological and empirical deficiencies and these critiques informed the design of the follow-up study Voting. Lazarsfeld et al. They interviewed a representative sample up to seven times over the course of the campaign with regard to vote intention, their evaluation of the candidates and assessment of the major political issues.

By doing so the researchers sought to determine how each individual voter developed their political attitudes over time and the impact of the campaign on this process.

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Blue-collar workers and Catholics disproportionately trended toward the Democrats while Protestants and middle class voters predominantly supported the Republicans, with the interaction of both variables strengthening these effects. With muted reservations, the authors concluded that the political preferences of their respondents were largely socially determined. For many voters, party choice was fixed months before the election and new information was used selectively to reinforce rather than challenge or update prior opinions. These findings were far removed from the ideal of the responsible democratic citizen, painstakingly informing themselves about the various parties and candidates before coming to a decision based on sober reflection.

Voter Behaviour

As they conceded, however, Lazarsfeld et al. The authors argued implicitly that socio-structural variables could be viewed as indicators of membership in a mostly homogenous social environment of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues with similar political views. This web of interactions is then capable of reinforcing wavering individual opinions through social pressure.

In these circumstances so-called Opinion Leaders played an important role by intensively informing themselves about political events through the media and then passing their observations on to less interested or educated citizens. To describe this relationship Lazarsfeld et al. To explain non-voting or party-switching, two phenomena that electoral researchers have always been pre-occupied with, Lazarsfeld et al.

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The Macro-Sociological Model. In contrast to the Columbia study, the macro-sociological approach focuses its explanations on processes at the level of the entire society.

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  3. Research Note Is the Lipset-Rokkan Hypothesis Testable?*?
  4. In Germany this approach was initially forwarded by M. Internationally Lepsius had little impact, while even within the German literature his approach was soon displaced by a competing macro-sociological model that argued from the outset with abstract categories, was tailored to explain a larger area Western Europe and was easily portable to other contexts.

    According to Lipset and Rokkan, European social conflicts can be systematically ordered and divided into four groups:. Conflicts between the national Center and the subordinate Periphery,. Conflicts between the State and the Catholic Church;. Conflicts between Urban and Rural territories; and. These four conflicts ultimately go back to processes of modernization.

    Cleavage Formation in Norway: The Contextual Dimension

    The first two refer predominantly to the cultural sphere and hearken back to the development of modern nation-states, while the latter conflicts are above all economically motivated and consequences of the Industrial Revolution. For Lipset and Rokkan, social conflicts become politically relevant if a specific set of conditions is fulfilled:.

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    The conflict must remain virulent over a long period and play a central role in the life of the affected individuals. Social mobility must be low, so that one typically remains a lifelong member of the relevant social group. Those affected by the conflict must have the motivation and opportunity to ensure that their interests are incorporated into formal associations. This party must have an opportunity within the electoral system to cross the threshold of parliamentary representation. Under these conditions social conflicts achieve a sort of political reification.

    The parties that develop are understood as the agents of social groups and are treated as such by group members.

    The format of the party system that develops, such as the number of parties or polarization between them is determined by the number of relevant social cleavages and whether these fault lines run parallel to or overlap with one another. So long as the system of social conflicts remains stable, for example when parties negotiate a lasting compromise that is also acceptable to their represented social groups, the party system will remain fundamentally stable.

    An obvious deficiency in their model, however, is the failure to consider the individual level and the role of communication. Lipset and Rokkan are silent on why individual voters usually behave empirically as elites expect them to. But even this combined approach has a major deficiency, as it only poorly explain moments of political change.