Social Cleavages and Political Change: Voter Alignments and U.S. Party Coalitions

By Jeff Manza; Clem Brooks | Go to book overview
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In referring to the 'sociological approach', we caution that it is hardly the only distinctive contribution of sociologists to the study of politics. In the area of political behavior, research on the impact of social networks has been an important contribution. The attention sociologists have also given to rigorously analyzing other political phenomena--such as the rise and development of welfare states, social movements and other forms of non-institutional politics, the politics of families and workplaces, and the influence of the capitalist world- system on nation states--indicate some of those contributions.
Russell Dalton and Martin Wattenberg, "'The Not So Simple Act of Voting'", in Political Science: The State of the Discipline II, ed. Ada Finifter ( Washington, DC: American Political Science Association, 1993), quotes at pp. 199-200; see also Dalton, "'Comparative Politics: Micro-Behavioral Perspectives'", in A New Handbook of Political Science, ed. Robert E. Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingemann ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). We cite and discuss other examples of the recent critique of the sociological approach in Chapter 1 below.
Although there is a considerable recent journal literature (which we cite and discuss in the chapters that follow), the last book-length treatment of these topics in the U.S. is David Knoke 1976 work, The Social Bases of Political Parties ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976).

Friedrich Engels, "'The Tactics of Social Democracy'", in The Marx/Engels Reader, ed. Robert W. Tucker ( New York: Norton, 1978), p. 571. The most systematic analysis of class voting and the historical development of the social democratic movement in Europe can be found in Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy ( New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), chap. 1; and Adam Przeworski and John Sprague, Paper Stones: A History of Electoral Socialism ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). There were, to be sure, heated debates within the Marxist tradition over the viability of electoral socialism; from leaders of the SPD and many other Marxists affiliated with the 2nd International through to the 'Eurocommunist' movement after World War II have debated the possibility of bringing about socialism through electoral means. Marxist critics of the 2nd International tradition, most famously Lenin and Luxemburg, asserted that no bourgeois democracy would ever permit such an


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Social Cleavages and Political Change: Voter Alignments and U.S. Party Coalitions


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