The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context

The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context

The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context

The End of Class Politics? Class Voting in Comparative Context


The last few decades has seen a prolonged debate over the nature and importance of social class as a basis for ideology, class voting and class politics. In this book, leading scholars argue that the class basis of political competition has to some degree evolved, but not declined. Furthermore, the sweeping claims about the new politics of postindustrial society need to be re-examined.


This book began as a panel on class and politics at the thirteenth World Congress of Sociology at Bielefeld in Germany in July 1994. At that meeting John Goldthorpe, Michael Hout, Paul Nieuwbeerta, and David Weakliem presented early versions of the papers that eventually became the chapters published here. the idea of a book certainly existed then, but its eventual fruition required further clarification and extension of both content and personnel. This was facilitated by the gathering together of many of the book's final contributors for a conference on 'The End of Class Politics?' at Nuffield College in February 1995 with funds generously provided by the Ford Foundation. Here the initial contributing authors were joined by new input from Kristen Ringdal and Stefan Svallfors, as well as further analyses from the initial group now joined by Anthony Heath. a special feature of this conference was the taped round-table session led by commentaries from John Goldthorpe, Michael Hout, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Peter Mair. After suitable editorial work these commentaries feature in Chapter 12 of this book.

Although the book was well under way after this meeting, there were important contributions still to be obtained. These arrived in the works by Petr Mateju and his co-authors and Walter Müller as well as in the addition of a chapter by Stephen Whitefield and myself on the emergence of class politics in Russia. These contributions helped broaden the focus from the well-trodden themes of class voting in Britain and the United States. This expansion of perspective not only mollified the (extremely helpful and supportive) reviewers for Oxford University Press but also facilitated the drawing of more robust conclusions about the conditional nature of trends in class voting and class politics—conclusions that form a key output of this work as a whole.

Other scholars have added to the debate and the work presented here, despite themselves not contributing written pieces: both Jan Jonsson in Bielefeld and Robert Erikson at the Nuffield meeting presented important papers and made valuable contributions to the discussions that followed. Terry Nichols Clark contributed an interesting if only electronic presence to the debate.

The resulting manuscript is a state-of-the-art analysis of the changing nature of class voting in advanced industrial societies. Considerable use is made of recent advances in loglinear and related modelling techniques that overcome many of the technical limitations that have characterized

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