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

By Jeff Manza; Clem Brooks | Go to book overview

2
Social Cleavages and American Politics

This chapter introduces the concepts and strategies of inquiry we employ in the rest of this study. It considers a range of methodological and statistical issues involved in our study of social cleavages. We also present the theoretical interpretations that we use as a guide to analyzing patterns of change over time.


THE CLEAVAGE CONCEPT

The concept of a 'cleavage' has been used by scholars to identify enduring conflicts within the electorate. Despite the concept's long intellectual pedigree, there has been little agreement in the social science literature as to precisely what type of division merits the label of a cleavage. Given its centrality in this study, we clarify our use of the concept and the differences between cleavages and other types of social divisions or ideological conflicts.


Social Cleavages and Political Divisions

The cleavage concept can be traced to the intersection of Marxist and Weberian social theory. Marx's class-centered model of history and social change, and Weber's distinction between classes, status groups, and organizations in capitalist societies locate the primary source of political division in social structures. Weber built upon the Marxian legacy by expanding the definition of social cleavage to encompass the idea of the status group (stand) and, more importantly, by calling attention to the role of organizational and institutional factors (such as parties and states) in shaping the emergence and actual impact of cleavages. 1

As noted in the previous chapter, Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan use the cleavage concept in their landmark 1967 theoretical statement to describe the political conflicts that emerged out of the

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Tables ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Sociological Tradition in Political Behavior Research 9
  • 2 - Social Cleavages and American Politics 31
  • 3 - Class 49
  • Appendix: Occupation and Class 82
  • 4 - Religion 85
  • Appendix: Major Denominational Coding Scheme 126
  • 5 - Gender 128
  • Conclusion 151
  • 6 - Race and the Social Bases of Voter Alignments 155
  • Conclusion 175
  • 7 - Party Coalitions 176
  • Conclusion 196
  • Appendix: Changes in Group Political Alignments 198
  • 8 - Social Cleavages in the 1996 Election 201
  • Conclusion 214
  • 9 - Third Party Candidates 217
  • Conclusion 229
  • 10 - Conclusion 231
  • Notes 243
  • Bibliography 306
  • SUBJECT INDEX 335
  • NAME INDEX 340
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