Volatility, Cleavage and ICE [part 1].

Student: Align Left                Professor: Align Center                Gadfly: Align Right

  1. A tardy student enters the lecture hall.
  2. She begins a digital recording,
  3. Of the following knowledge drawls:
  4. Political actors institutionalize and continually institute,
  5. The fundamental rules.
  6. These in effect impose the peoples’ social contract and solve,
  7. The puzzle of “our laws.”
  8. But class, when are your laws most pernicious or contested,
  9. When’s the polity seem infected?
  10. The tardy and risky student invokes:
  11. What’s the answer to this riddle?
  12. Do Echo! Don’t pause!
  13. We inquire of your cause!
  14. The professor lowers his eyebrows and slowly continues:
  15. Bartolini and Mair[i] explain in:
  16.  Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability
  17. Two major processes that Western democracies, in fact,
  18. Expanded.
  19. Let’s call their book ICE,
  20. A classic.
  21. First: What engulfed the polity may have been,
  22. Progressive pacification.
  23. Researchers of political culture sometimes label this type:
  24. Homogenous.
  25. Their path of democratic development may have avoided,
  26. A volatile process.
  27. Second: profound socio-political cleavages,
  28. Are encapsulated.
  29. These often came from historical and social structures,
  30. Put into governance.
  31. This is more often the noticeable occurrence,
  32. In Europe.
  33. Remember: representatives decide upon the public’s rules,
  34. Legitimacy cues.
  35. And sometimes these rules hinder participants’ calls for,
  36. Political progress.
  37. Hence conflict is here verified, while it is there denied,
  38. Redress.
  39. Imagine the same interests held power, indefinitely able to influence—
  40. Power.
  41. A fraternity man with a ΨΥ cap,
  42. Humbly interrupts:
  43. So seemingly stable European democracies,
  44. May actually be volatile?
  45. The historical elite have thus over time,
  46. Monopolized conflict?
  47. Encapsulation depends on two crucial factors:
  48. The elites believe that:
  49. (1) simmering the conflict is better than pummeling,
  50. The other habitus’s space.
  51. (2) That victory is not assured without substantial risks and costs,
  52. Damage to the habitus’s efficient pace.
  53. The tardy student’s tone is swank:
  54. So you study the votes of electorates and electoral stability,
  55. To understand the consolidation,
  56. Of democracy.
  57. The professor is frustrated with this learner,
  58. Whom interjects but entered late,
  59. And missed the opening claims.
  60. He nods with approbation, and,
  61. Continues all the same:
  62. Electoral consolidation may require long-term stalemate.
  63. This may illuminate the “freezing” of,
  64. Lipset and Rokkan’s research frame.
  65. Yet there is a paradox to note.
  66. This long-term perspective of stability…
  67. It eludes the short-term factors of competitiveness,
  68. Of democratic accountability—whence,
  69. We should see electoral change; and,
  70. Notice instability;
  71. Different shows should claim the stage.
  72. The tardy student derails:
  73. But what do you mean by political stability?
  74. Political scientists have categorized different “stability” phenomena:
  75. (1) Violence is never found,
  76. (2) Democracy has endured without harm,
  77. (3) A legitimate constitutional order abounds,
  78. (4) Structural change is out,
  79. (5) multifaceted societal attributes are sound,
  80. (6) A pattern of behavior…
  81. The tardy student exhales:
  82. Should we pay attention to the individual or aggregate electoral…
  83. Under aggregate electoral stability; sage,
  84. Of salience are individual voting behavior, and,
  85. An absence of structural change.
  86. Thus the instability of electoral change,
  87. At the individual grade,
  88. Is relevant when focusing on the structural transformations;
  89. Within the party systems’ ranks.
  90. The professor enjoys the students’ undivided attention,
  91. For a many seconds.
  92. Bartolini and Mair divide a century into four electoral stages [delineating]:
  93. 1885 to 1917 entails mass mobilization [and formation of the Left],
  94. 1918-‘44 exhibits the inter-war years [and formation of the Right],
  95. 1945-‘65 brings about stable electoral politicking, and,
  96.  1966-‘85 is perceived to be one of high electoral volatility.
  97. But what does electoral volatility mean?
  98. The tardy student falls asleep.
  99. The Professor, indeed, does not heed.
  100. Electoral volatility can be very complex,
  101. It may range.
  102. Simple measures quantify net electoral change,
  103. Between two consecutive elections. For this,
  104. We have many names.
  105. A man with wild hazel hair interjects:
  106. Electoral instability or electoral mobility;
  107. Electoral swing or electoral fluidity.
  108. The professor turned quite serious:
  109. We shall never use fluidity, unless voters are moving,
  110. Like particles without denotation.
  111. We shall never use swing, unless voters are moving,
  112. In a downsian two-party continuum.
  113. Instability, volatility and mobility may be used,
  114. Interchangeably.
  115. These are, for the second time,
  116. The ground rules.
  117. ICE examines how inter-party shifts,
  118. Play a propos volatility moments.
  119. Volatility, again, can be quite complex,
  120. A priori, it has two salient distinctions.
  121. When aggregate electoral volatility is witnessed,
  122. By reflecting the individuals ballot box preferences,
  123. Concerning a single party, a block of parties, or,
  124. The entire party system; and,
  125. It’s used as an indicator,
  126. Of individual voting shifts; then,
  127.   Call this the indicator of the accumulation of individual voting shifts.
  128. When aggregate electoral volatility is witnessed,
  129. Not as a surrogate indicator; rather,
  130. As an independent factor,
  131.  As an electoral competition process matter,
  132. By which party leaders, militants, and electors gather; and,
  133. Interpret and implement strategic solutions to the election chatter; then,
  134. Call this the volatility as system property
  135. The tardy student murmurs as she awakes.
  136. For silence the deft professor awaits.
  137. Any questions?
  138. A swimmer asks:
  139. Can you spend a minute bridging, please,
  140. Cleavage and volatility?
  141. Lipset and Rokkan state that cleavages have been frozen,
  142. Sine the 1920s.
  143. Thus shouldn’t party systems constantly show low levels of volatility,
  144. Or has this frozen thing thawed aplenty?
  145. ICE puts forth that neither of the former two aggregate volatility
  146. Propositions,
  147. Will adequately measure the stability or hold of traditional
  148. Cleavages.
  149. The hazel haired young man sighs:
  150. Why?
  151. First, the “freezing of cleavages” meant the freezing of political:
  152. Alternatives.
  153. These alternatives may not be within one party, but,
  154. Within the opposition of blocks of parties.
  155. Thus measures of individual party volatility will not be:
  156. Superlative.
  157. Cleavage lines; such as class or religion, should be measured,
  158. Between the party blocks on opposing sides of the cleavage line.
  159. However, these are different measures, e.g.,
  160. Block volatility (BV); and,
  161. Within-block volatility (WMV); still:
  162. Formative.
  163. Second, total volatility doesn’t quite indicate cleavage:
  164. Persistence.
  165. Total volatility accounts for too many factors which impact:
  166. Influence.
  167. On the other hand, in Europe we find,
  168. Class cleavage is the standardizing design,
  169. Of Western European party system lines.
  170. Total volatility may thus chase,
  171.  The Lipset-Rokkan “freezing hypothesis.”
  172. ICE seeks cleavage decline evidence; and,
  173. Charts the variability of total volatility distances.
  174. A foreign green-eyed woman made a request:
  175. When were these cleavages frozen?
  176. Mass party systems across Europe consolidated,
  177. Amidst the advent of universal suffrage,
  178. In the twenties.
  179. Thence the electoral market closed its gates,
  180. To new party languages or emerging politics,
  181. To unorthodox entries.
  182. A most powerful bias for the status-quo class-cleavage,
  183. Remains.
  184. A trendsetter wearing a top-hat inquires:
  185. What does the evidence in ICE say?
  186. There is a fundamental bias towards stability.
  187. Whereas France has the highest level of mean total volatility,
  188. It’s overall condition,
  189. Germany takes first place for mean total volatility,
  190. Via standard deviation.
  191. And class-cleavage specifically,
  192. Reveals remarkable stability.
  193. The volatility values are positively skewed,
  194. With a peak so far before the mean one can argue,
  195. That we have some valid proof.
  196. And Norway appears to be the most deviant case,
  197. Since it’s quite unpredictable when compared to similar states…
  198. A Norwegian international student laughingly disrupts:
  199. But in Norway, we still accept the King’s occasional decree.
  200. And as our average income is ninety-thousand, oh yeah,
  201. We don’t care so much for this class-cleavage setting.
  202. Thank you Otto.
  203. Welcome.
  204. The professor senses a moment of clarity.
  205. The hour has ended.
  206. Let’s leave it there.
  207. See you next week.
  208. And please, everyone, please,
  209. All take a turn to speak.

[i] Stefano  Bartolini and Peter  Mair. Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability. ECPR.


One thought on “Volatility, Cleavage and ICE [part 1].

  1. Pingback: Poli-Sci “Parties” Poetry Book « Political Pipeline

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