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Journal ArticleDOI

Political Cleavages and Political Realignment in Norway: The New Politics Thesis Reexamined

01 Jan 1986-Scandinavian Political Studies (Blackwell Publishing Ltd)-Vol. 9, Iss: 3, pp 235-260

AbstractThe question of political realignment and dealignment in advanced industrial democracies has been the subject of considerable comparative analysis. The present study takes the literature regarding the ‘new politics’ thesis as the point of departure and examines the relative importance of different political cleavages. The traditional socio-structural cleavages in the Rokkan/Lipset model for political polarization in industrial society are contrasted with an extended ideological cleavage model which includes five different dimensions. Using data from a nationwide Norwegian survey, the findings indicate that although there is a clear tendency towards a generation-based structural de-alignment process in accordance with ‘new politics’ literature. the thesis that the materialist/post-materialist dimension has taken over as the dominant polarization pattern in Norway is not generally confirmed. The ‘old left-right’ ideological cleavages - which we have called Leftist/Rightist Materialism - appears to be of greater importance. even in the post-war generations.

Topics: Dealignment (58%), Cleavage (politics) (57%), Polarization (politics) (53%), Politics (51%)

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The present article discusses different approaches for identifying empirical cleavage dimensions and concludes that a so-called cleavage-defined approach is most appropriate for identifying and interpreting party dimensions. It is further argued that discriminant analysis is a powerful statistical tool for analyzing cleavage dimensions in accordance with a cleavage-defined approach. Using different structural variables that are incorporated in the Lipset-Rokkan model for party cleavages in Western Europe, and two ideological dimensions (called left-right materialism and materialism/postmaterialism) as “input” for the dimensional analyses, data from Norway and the European Community countries (based on Euro-Barometer 16 from 1981) are analyzed and related to the comparative literature on cleavage structure in Western Europe.

70 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This article examines the relative impact of different political cleavages on party preference in a comparative West European context. The point of departure is the so-called ‘new polities’ theory, which postulates that the value polarization between materialist and post-materialist (MPM) political orientation is a new and increasingly important dimension in this respect.The findings from ten West European democracies confirm that the MPM cleavage is an important party cleavage in most of the countries examined, although the traditional structural cleavages are still most important from a causal perspective. The MPM dimension does not, however, have the largest impact in the most advanced industrial democracies, something new politics theory appears to contend. Another ideological cleavage dimension – ‘Left-Right Materialism’ – is also an important party cleavage, and appears to have most impact in the most advanced (post-industrial) West European countries.

64 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Este articulo analiza el cambio y estabilidad del electorado chileno en el periodo 1990-2000. Chile esta experimentando transformaciones significativas en su comportamiento electoral. Ellas coexisten con importantes elementos de continuidad. Bajo una imagen de estabilidad se esta gestando un profundo realineamiento del electorado. Entre 1990 y el 2000 se observa un alto nivel de estabilidad electoral agregada; al mismo tiempo que un aumento del desinteres por la politica, desidentificacion con los partidos y aumento de la desconfianza con las instituciones democraticas. El objetivo especifico del articulo es estudiar cuan significativo es el cambio que ha sucedido en la distribucion electoral de los partidos, analizar las bases electorales de los partidos politicos chilenos y, finalmente, los efectos de estos movimientos y tendencias en el sistema de partidos.

38 citations


Cites background from "Political Cleavages and Political R..."

  • ...De la misma forma, sostuvo Knutsen (1986), una serie de valores e ideales políticos que se contrastan y relacionan con otro grupo de valores e ideales políticos, pueden constituir conjuntos de orientaciones ideológicas contrapuestas y constituir, por lo tanto, clivajes ideológicos o basados en…...

    [...]

  • ...Lo que habría cambiado es la ubicación social de estas ideologías opuestas, pues seguiría siendo el clivaje ideológico el dominante en la cultura política noruega (Knutsen, 1986)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The results of a broad, inductive study of cultural orientation in Norway are used to throw light on issues in the debate on dimensions of cultural change. Inglehart's index of materialism—postmaterialism is shown to constitute one diagonal in a two-dimensional cultural space with axes resembling those discussed by Flanagan. It is argued that they both fail to appreciate the importance of cultural differences along the other diagonal, opposing hedonistic and austerity oriented, in demographic terms typically younger men with low education versus well educated older women. The latest book of Ronald Inglehart, Culture shift in advanced industrial society (1990), sums up the impressive results of his two decade endeavor to describe the gradual cultural change from materialist to postmaterialist values and analyze its causes and consequences. The book covers a lot of important and debated issues, where Inglehart argues elegantly in favor of cultural or value explanations of behavior. He also forcefully counters critical comments to his earlier writings. The purpose of this article is not to contest the general theoretical assumptions of Inglehart, the idea of a lasting imprint of experiences during adolescence on the value preferences of the individual, giving rise to relatively stable intergenerational differences in cultural orientation as the socioeconomic conditions during socialization change over time, differences which through the process of generational replacement change the aggregate value preferences of a society. What will be questioned is certain aspects of his description of the content of the intergenerational differences in cultural orientation as a shift from materialism to postmaterialism. The empirical database of Inglehart is outstanding as regards the number of cases and the impressive span in time and space they cover. The main part of the analysis relies on a very narrow set of indicators, however, derived from his theoretical reasoning about the nature of cultural change in industrial societies. What happens when one uses a more open, inductive approach and a much broader set of value indicators? The results from an analysis of a series of large value surveys, called the Norwegian Monitor, show far more pronounced © World Atsociatitn for Public Opinion Research iggj 212 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH differences between age groups than Inglehart's postmaterialism-index, and present an alternative picture of the cultural characteristics of the young. Having analyzed the relationship between the Monitor dimensions and Inglehart's concepts, the results are used to shed light on central issues in the long and inconclusive debate between Scott Flanagan and Inglehart concerning the dimensionality of cultural change. Flanagan has persistently insisted that the postmaterialism-index mixes together dimensions which ought to be kept apart (Flanagan, 1982a, 1982^, 1987; Flanagan and Lee, 1988), but have not succeeded in persuading Inglehart to change his approach (Inglehart, 1982, 1990, p. 142-3). Nor has Inglehart responded to the 'middle position' advocated by Oddbjern Knutsen who in addition to the materialism—postmaterialism index of Inglehart also looks at two subdimensions it may be decomposed into (Knutsen, 1985, 1986, 1990). By using a two-dimensional space when analyzing variations in cultural orientation, instead of presenting results for indexes one at a time, a clear picture of the relationship between the different positions in this debate emerges. INGLEHART'S THEORY OF CULTURE S H I F T As a brief presentation of Inglehart's theory we quote from his latest book: The Materialist/Postmaterialist thesis is based on two key hypotheses: (1) a scarcity hypothesis that one's priorities reflect one's socioeconomic environment so that one places greatest subjective value on those things that are in relatively short supply; and (2) a socialization hypothesis that, to a large extent, one's basic values reflect the conditions that prevailed during one's preadult years. Taken together, these two hypotheses imply that, as a result of the historically unprecedented prosperity and the absence of war that has prevailed in Western countries since 1045, younger birth cohorts place less emphasis on economic and physical security than do older groups, who have experienced a much greater degree of economic insecurity, and that conversely, the younger birth cohorts tend to give a higher priority to nonmaterial needs, such as a sense of community and the quality of life (Inglehart, 1990, p. 56). The title of Inglehart's first book on this topic: The silent revolution (1977), characterizes the importance as well as the subtle nature of the resulting process of cultural change. Society undergoes a basic transformation, but not in a sudden and dramatic way: 'Instead, fundamental value change takes place gradually, almost invisibly . . . ' (1990, p. 69). Inglehart also sees the rising level of education as contributing to the shift towards postmaterialist values, and among its consequences he points to changes in political ideology and behavior (1990, p. 6). The extensiveness of the data Inglehart has been able to collect to test his theory of a culture shift must be unique in social research, including a remarkable time series of surveys for six West European nations covering 18 years, in total nearly 200,000 interviews (1990, p. 85). Altogether comparable POSTMATERIALISM AS A DIMENSION OF CULTURAL CHANGE 213 data exist for two dozen nations. Inglehart finds within each nation a pattern of differences between age and educational groups in line with his thesis of a shift towards postmaterialism. By pooling the data for several nations he also obtains solid databases for a cohort analysis, with results supporting his interpretation that the age differences are an effect of generation rather than life cycle (1990, ch. 2). The extensiveness of the database in terms of number of cases has been accomplished, not surprisingly, at the expense of its intensiveness, the range of indicators of cultural orientation is very limited. The major part of the empirical analysis is based on a ranking of four items, although the measure of materialist-postmaterialist orientations in several studies is expanded to 12 items, and the relationship to other values are sometimes discussed. The analysis presented below uses the original 4-item index, shown in Table 1. Two of the items to be ranked are intended to express a materialist, the other two a postmaterialist value orientation. A respondent with a consistent ranking—either both materialist or both postmaterialist items as his/her first and second preference—is classified accordingly. Selecting one item from each category gives the classification 'mixed' orientation on the MPM-index. Most Norwegians end up in the middle category (Table 2). The figure of 63 percent 'mixed' in the combined 1989-91 samples is a little above the results reported by Inglehart for most other nations in 1986-87, but Great Britain (63 percent), Denmark and the United States (61 percent) are at the same level TABLE I Inglehart's 4-item value indicator Question: 'Lately there has been a lot of talk about what should be the goals of this country for the next 10 years. On this card various goals which different people might prefer are listed. Which of these goals do you consider the most important?' 'And what would be your second choice?' 1 Maintain order in the nation (M) 2 Give people more say in the decisions of the government (PM) 3 Fight rising prices (M) 4 Protect freedom of speech (PM)

34 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Left-right self-identification appears to be associated in the Dutch electorate with the two dimensions comprising the ‘ideological space’: socio-economic (egalitarian) left-right ad politico-cultural libertarianism-authoritarianism. This study shows the stable two-dimensionality of this ‘space’. Thus, left-right self-identification seems to lack unambiguous content validity. It is only the best predictor of the vote if the parties are ordered according to the mean positions of their supporters on the socio-economic left-right ideological dimension. When the parties are ordered along the other dimension of the space (the libertarian-authoritarian dimension), religion (church attendance) proves to be the best predictor. Religion and authoritarianism prove to be stronger predictors of left-right self-identification rather than social class and socio-economic left-right ideology. (Post)materialism only plays a modest role regarding predicting either the left-right or the authoritarian vote, although this construct overlaps with libertarian-authoritarian ideology (e.g. Flanagan, 1987). Thus, neither left-right self-identification nor (post)materialism seem fruitful approaches to the realm of ideology and values. The results of this study challenge both for example, the Niemoller-Van der Eijk (1987) position on left-right self-identification and the Van Deth-Geurts (1989) position on (post)materialism.

33 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This article tests the hypothesis that postwar affluence led to an intergenerational shift from Materialist to Post-Materialist values among Western publics, and analyzes the consequences of the economic uncertainty prevailing since 1973. The young emphasize Post-Materialist values more than the old. Time-series data indicate that this reflects generational change far more than aging effects, but that the recession of the mid-1970s also produced significant period effects. As Post-Materialists aged, they moved out of the student ghetto and became a predominant influence among young technocrats, contributing to the rise of a “New Class.” They furnish the ideologues and core support for the environmental, zero-growth and antinuclear movements; and their opposition to those who give top priority to reindustrialization and rearmament constitutes a distinctive and persisting dimension of political cleavage.

613 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This article, based upon an extensive examination of the literature on the concept of ideology, identifies some 27 definitional components or ‘elements' which are discussed in turn to ascertain their utility and coherence as definitional criteria. On the basis of this examination a number of these elements are found to be essential to the concept, and are built into a definition which allows consideration of, among other things, the expressive and justificatory dimension of beliefs often ignored in other definitions.

110 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Abraham Kaplan in his ‘paradox of conceptualization’ draws attention to the fundamental problem of concept-formation: ‘The proper concepts are needed to formulate good theory, but we need a good theory to arrive at the proper concepts’. On this view, concepts are neither right nor wrong but are more or less useful; their utility is determined by the twin and mutually dependent requirements of empirical precision and theoretical importance. ‘Empirical precision’ has to do with a concept's ability to ‘carve up’ the world of phenomena without unnecessary ambiguities; ‘theoretical importance’ has to do with the utility of a concept in the development of statements of wide explanatory and predictive power.

101 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Nov 1961

54 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to establish empirically the status of Ronald Inglehart's postmaterialist syndrome in Norway. As a prototypical social democratic state, and one of the only European countries yet to be adequately tested for postmaterialism, Norway represents a particularly interesting case for the Inglehart thesis. On the basis of a national sample survey carried out in 1981 (N = 1, 170), the analysis focuses on two major questions: the distinctness of postmaterialism in a left-right context, and the congruity between different value domains. Of particular importance is the finding that there exists a postmaterialist profile for democratic values that is much more distinct than the literature has allowed for up to now.

40 citations