Political Cleavages: Issues, Parties, and the Consolidation of Democracy

By Alejandro Moreno | Go to book overview
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and left-right materialism, and to a lesser extent education and urban-rural differences, play a role in defining political cleavages in Portugal.

Table 2.1 shows the discriminant analysis of Portuguese party electorates. In this case, only the first discriminant function is statistically significant. This function represents a cleavage dimension based on religiosity. Left-right materialist orientations also contribute to define this dimension, but with much less influence. The cleavage dimension polarizes two fields, one with strongly religious and slightly more capitalist-oriented individuals and another with secular and slightly more socialist-oriented constituencies. The party polarization shows the Social Democratic Center (CDS) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) on the religious side and the Communist Party (PCP) on the secular side. Socialist Party supporters have a relatively moderate position on this dimension. The second discriminant function is dominated by the urban-rural division and education. However, this function is not statistically significant, and the results must be taken with caution.

Summary . The societies analyzed in this section show very strong structural cleavages. Although the Dutch society is clearly issue-oriented--it emphasizes postmodern, postmaterialist, and left-right materialism values--the analysis suggests that a religious cleavage is also very strong in that society. Ireland and Italy also have strong religious cleavages, and Belgium and Spain are characterized by strong regional cleavages. Religiosity also seems very strong in Portugal. Differences of development in northern and southern Italy do not create a regional conflict; rather, they reflect a conflict between traditionalism and religiosity on the one hand and stronger secular values on the other. The North-South division in Italy also reflects richer and poorer regional constituencies that make a class cleavage very salient. Urban-rural differences play an important role in Ireland. The so-called segmented pluralism is an important factor in the Netherlands and Belgium, where religious as well as regional and linguistic differences are translated into political conflict and competition. A strong Catholic tradition in Italy and Ireland helps explain the religious cleavages there. Differences of internal development, class conflict, urban-rural cleavages, and subcultural factors clearly shape party competition in these societies, reflecting a greater influence of the type of cleavages described by Lipset and Rokkan ( 1967) rather than strong issue-oriented cleavages. The Netherlands is perhaps the only exception.


Political cleavages in advanced industrial societies are strongly influenced by issue orientations. Most of the countries analyzed in this chapter show very


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Political Cleavages: Issues, Parties, and the Consolidation of Democracy


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