Volatility, Cleavage and ICE [part 2].

Left: Professor                                      Center: Student                                       Right: Gadfly

  1. In Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability (ICE); 1990,[1]
  2.      Bartolini and Mair in Chapter 9, a general hypothesis, provide:
  3. “The stronger and more pervasive is the strength
  4.  Of the cleavage system of a given country or period,
  5.  The lower will be the elasticity of the vote and, therefore,
  6.  The lower will be the level of electoral instability.”[2]                                                 
  7. The old homecoming queen asked:
  8. ICE is careful to articulate cleavage.
  9. Will you explain a nuanced perception?
  10. Cleavage contains three important levels in ICE:
  11.      An empirical element identifies the empirical referent of the concept;
  12.      A normative element is the set of values and beliefs which depicts,
  13.             The identity and role of the empirical element which reflects,
  14.                  The social group(s)’ self consciousness.
  15.      An organizational/behavioral element is a set of individual interactions,
  16.             Institutions, and organizations—like political parties—the factions,
  17.                   Which develop this aspect of the cleavage transaction.
  18. Thus cleavage is a dividing line in a polity and accounts for three functions:
  19.      Social-structural, normative-cultural, and political-organizational junctions.
  20. Cleavage, in ICE, is a form of closure of social relationships.[3]
  21.     For example, the development of the modern nation state machine,
  22.         Integrated multiple groups into the central sphere of society,
  23.             These groups organized conflict upon political institutions,
  24.                  To entrenched social groups, networks, and ideological relations.   
  25.      See the historical process of mobilization, politicization, and democratization,
  26.             Reveal the distinctive normative profile and organizational network,
  27.                  Of any special cleavage. This was your homework!
  28.      I mean, social stratification sets up structural circumstances for group identity,
  29.             Later this may become wholly political, more so in light of mass democracy,
  30.                  To be seen as a particular cleavage to be studied.
  31.      And each cleavage has its own history which may differ substantially,
  32.             From the social basis of their original mobilization and politicization—
  33.                  There may be serious change within the cleavage history.
  34.      Again, all three elements of the cleavage must be available for appraisal:
  35.             Changes in social stratification, the corresponding cultural systems,
  36.                  And the socio-political organizational forms.
  37. A brilliant young woman felt stranded:
  38. Wouldn’t it be difficult to empirically measure a cleavage?
  39. For how exactly do you define a relevant social reference group?
  40. Or, really, how do you determine membership homogeneity; against,
  41. The level of closure, or strength, of the social relationship it represents?
  42. To the former, you may identify the social basis of linguistic or regional divisions,
  43.      Understand: religion or class cleavages (e.g., Alford index) are much more complex.
  44. To the latter, if we are looking at class, then we shall research mobility,
  45.      Not necessarily social homogeneity. In this way, mobility is closed through:
  46.             Marriage, educational institutions, the urban and spatial setting of the population,
  47.             Social customs, religious practices, and so on. Do you approve?
  48. The Professor waits,
  49. Until sighs from the audience subside.
  50. Now, if you will recall ICE’s hypothesis that I quoted in the opening;
  51.      Their stance, please add: “In order to explain electoral stability,
  52.             Cleavage strength must be measured independently,
  53.     Of electoral behavior.” Say, independently!
  54. Oh, how her smile was twice as nice,
  55. As her brilliant mind:
  56. Let’s briefly look at where the empirical evidence stands.
  57. ICE uses Lijphart’s classification for segmentation:
  58.      High, medium, and low.
  59. The first step of their empirical analysis compared,
  60.      The rank-ordering of countries via,
  61.             Segmentation and electoral volatility, which showed:
  62.                  (1) There is no case of high volatility and high segmentation;
  63.                  (2) The four countries generally the most segmented,
  64.                           Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland,
  65.                               Had a mean level of volatility below the mean of others; and,
  66.                  (3) Cases of low segmentation are scattered across the board!
  67. Kroar interjected:
  68. Yes. This was their first step in the analysis,
  69. Which didn’t quite measure aspects of cleavage strength.
  70. A structural aspect of cleavage strength may be seen,
  71.      Through the cultural heterogeneity of a country.
  72. In evidence are the linguistic and religious groups and subcultures; see,
  73.       The link between segmentation and electoral instability,
  74.             The relationship of the latter to the degree,
  75.                 Of ethno-linguistic and religious heterogeneity,
  76.                      Within the range of observed European countries.
  77. The youngest man in the class,
  78. With a top-hat and duck-handled cane, asked:
  79. What do the Figures in Chapter 9 explain?
  80. The index of ethno-linguistic heterogeneity operates,
  81.      As a dichotomous variable in play.
  82. Countries holding minorities—Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and U.K.
  83.      Are distinguished from homogenous states.
  84. On the other hand, the index of religious heterogeneity operates,
  85.      As a continuous variable in play.
  86. Half the class pondered whether or not,
  87. The Professor was avoiding the math,
  88. Or if the Professor just forgot.
  89. But then the Professor smiled,
  90. Knowing full well the atmosphere’s stops.
  91. Plotting thirty-eight country-phases by levels to perceive,
  92.      Heterogeneity and electoral instability,
  93.          They produce a new index of cultural heterogeneity.
  94. There is a negative correlation—negative .163—between:
  95.      Cultural homogeneity and electoral instability.
  96.           By the way, the relationship is weak.
  97. The Professor’s nose twitched.
  98. Yet the negative correlation increases dramatically,
  99.      When heterogeneity and homogenous cases,
  100.           Are factored separately.
  101. The strength of the former jumps to -0.424, and,
  102.      The latter jumps to -0.342, hence,
  103.             The strength within each set offers more substance.
  104. The Professor’s hands clasped.
  105. Thus the structural strength of certain types of cleavages,
  106.      As revealed by the level of cultural heterogeneity,
  107.             Will likely reduce the level of aggregate electoral instability.
  108. The student with the hat-and-cane gently cut in:
  109. The date does refer to the socio-structural basis of,
  110. Religious and ethno-linguistic cleavages.
  111. It seems likely that the level of cultural segmentation,
  112. Will have considerable bearing on the strength;
  113. I mean the degree of closure of,
  114. The class cleavage evidence.
  115. The tardy one tried to clarify:
  116. The greater the segmentation of non-class lines,
  117. They find,
  118. The more likely the class cleavage will be closed,
  119. I know.
  120. To measure this ICE purports to test the relationship,
  121.       Between the index of cultural homogeneity, and,
  122.             The amount of electoral mobility, transversely,
  123.                  The class cleavage boundary, meaning,
  124.                         A measure of cleavage volatility.
  125. The striking results demonstrate a strong negative correlation [-0.633].
  126.       The two macro-phenomena, without deviant cases; translation,
  127. The Professor wrote it on the board:
  128. ICE found that some 40 per cent of the variance,
  129.       In mobility across the cleavage line is explained by,
  130.             The level of cultural heterogeneity—through time.
  131. Recall Rokkan’s operational definition of segmentation:
  132.        The “degree of interlocking between cleavage specific organisations
  133.             active in the corporate channel and party organisations
  134.       mobilising for electoral action.”[4]
  135. ICE thus uses three indicators, or components,
  136.     To form a single determinant of organizational density!
  137. Then, the single determinant becomes an inclusive index,
  138.     To be related to levels of electoral instability!
  139. Two were getting lost,
  140. In the Professor’s talk:
  141. Please explain the three indicators.
  142. The first indicator measures the density,
  143.      Of the organizational network of the party,
  144.           Within the electorate.
  145. Include data on party memberships and activists,
  146.       Data on the number of organizational units,
  147.             And their spatial distribution.
  148. An international student from Macedonia pondered:
  149. But wouldn’t cross-national comparisons,
  150. Stifle the legitimacy of the study?
  151. I mean, for instance, how do you compare:
  152. Socialists, social democrats, labor, and communists?
  153. Wouldn’t the results be muddy?
  154. Is that all?
  155. No! Britain, Norway and Sweden,
  156. Have two forms of party membership:
  157. There are individual card-carrying members,
  158. And collective affiliation via trade unions!
  159. It’s true that ICE suggested that these issues,
  160.      May lead to an overestimation of the degree,
  161.             Of class-left organizational density,
  162.               Mostly in the two Scandinavian countries,
  163.      For good data was available in theU.K.
  164. The second indicator is “left trade-union membership ratio.”
  165.      It also measures the density of the class cleavage,
  166.             By applying party membership to
  167.             The number of members of left trade-unions;
  168.             Not to the number of members of left parties:
  169.                         See table 9.2.
  170.      Recall their use of Visser’s data, and importantly,
  171.             That ICE suggested that the socialist component,
  172.                  Occupied 64 per cent of the total membership.
  173. The third indicator is a simple measure of trade-union density.
  174.      So it calculates actual to potential union members, or,
  175.             The ratio of total union membership in a country,
  176.                  To the total dependent labor force.
  177.                         ICE keeps the same data source.
  178. At first glance, the strongest relationship was between,
  179.      Party membership and trade-union density,
  180. This was also stable in all evaluated phases,
  181.      0.595, 0.589, and 0.586 respectively.
  182. Organizational density may be seen,
  183.      As a general characteristic of a country.
  184. This method can be used to determine organizational networks,
  185.      In any given country.
  186. The data also reveals that least culturally fragmented countries,
  187.      More often prove a higher degree of organizational density,
  188.             In the functional socio-economic arena.
  189.      ICE also noted a tendency for large countries,
  190.         Like France, the U.K., Italy and Germany,
  191.           To lag behind small ones, as if inherently,
  192.             Smaller countries could more readily,
  193.               Engage full organizational mobilization, consequently,
  194.                 Organizational density may be an overall national propensity.
  195. Using the twin dimensions of cultural heterogeneity
  196.             And organizational density,
  197.       At opposing ends areFranceandSwitzerland.
  198. The first is a country both culturally homogenous and stands,
  199.       With the lowest level of organization density inWestern Europe.
  200. The second is most heterogeneous in its ethno-linguistic
  201.             And religious basis—with high organizational density—
  202.       It provides insight into the research hypothesis!
  203. A point to reflect upon is that the opposite countries,
  204.        With quite opposite levels of electoral instability,
  205.             The lowest and the highest—indeed,
  206.                  Appear strongly related to these contrasting levels,
  207.                         Of segmentation. Do you see?
  208. ICE creates a new composite indicator which produced,
  209.      A negative correlation of -0.466 in thirty-eight countries.
  210. And when Weimar Germanyis removed from the study,
  211.      The correlation jumps to -0.492 with the explained variance,
  212.             Of twenty-four percent (i.e., the R2 thing).
  213. Take their words for it: “In sum, the introduction
  214.       Of an organizational dimension
  215.       Has clearly strengthened the level of association
  216.       Between segmentation and electoral stability.”[5]
  217. Alas, cleavage strength is simply one of many key things,
  218.       To influence electoral instability across different countries.
  219. Of course, once a country deviates from the projected cleavage data,
  220.       Which is already established by ICE, consequently;
  221.              We may find a new research hypothesis to study.
  222. Many heads were nodding.
  223. See you all next week.

[1] I use the edition published by the ECPR Press in 2007. By the way, ECPR stands for European Consortium for Political Research.

[2] Page 197, italics in original.

[3] Page 200, italics in original. Further, the author’s go to great lengths in defining cleavage, and this poem has left out many of the other authors whom ICE does examine in order to differentiate how ICE uses cleavage as compared to previous studies. I only extract the main points of ICE.

[4] Page 213.

[5] Page 223, italics in original.


One thought on “Volatility, Cleavage and ICE [part 2].

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

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