Our Divides Shape Our Destiny

  1. Never before had the professor,
  2. Taught such a heterogeneous class.
  3. For it used to be that the PhD students,
  4. Mostly aligned somewhere on the left,
  5. They were progressives:
  6. A classroom with a cleft.
  7. But this semester, students were everywhere upon,
  8. The left-right continuum.
  9. And it was clear that those on the right,
  10. Were sincere—and not authoritarian.
  11. Rather, a rising movement of freedom;
  12. Like the proliferation of non-governmental,
  13. Humanitarian organizations.
  14. It seemed, to the professor,
  15.  As if those right students had today’s secrets,
  16. Much like Marx thought 150 years ago…
  17. Knowing the dialectic and new Hegelianism:
  18. Knowing the future’s course;
  19. These students were a group of pros.
  20. ‘Twas profound;
  21. The professor felt new energy all around.
  22. ‘Twas as if these diverse students, taken as a whole,
  23. Created a deep-rooted and wide-ranging analytical show.
  24. Truly, these right ideological students were checks and balances.
  25. Some had already made dumb and so drowned,
  26. The old pretexts from the left.
  27. The old jokes and clichés were officially dead.
  28. More surprisingly,
  29. This balance allowed the analytical political scientist;
  30. To breathe,
  31. To be industrious.
  32. To, like a hawk, see things from afar most clearly,
  33. And to claw and catch the research food.
  34. Indeed, there was, for the first time,
  35. Multifarious hypothesis—ever since,
  36. Kroar explained, behind closed doors,
  37. The “Utforske Method.”[1]
  38. Truth be told, the professor was a little nervous.
  39. Already had Kroar, a student clearly on the right,
  40. Like Voltaire, quipped much wit into the academic air,
  41. Leaving those on the left a little scared.
  42. And that is why, now, the professor is,
  43. For the first time in a few years,
  44. Really preparing for the lecture.
  45. And these, below, are the professor’s notes.
  46. Yes! It wasn’t only the students who were experiencing,
  47. Magnificent transformation and growth!
  48. Before we move on to socialization and a mother’s influence,
  49.    I must know that you understand the new dimensions,
  50.       Of political cleavage.[2]
  51. For cleavage has developed without a master guide,
  52.    Since Lipset and Rokkan’s vague freezing hypothesis.
  53. So let us find a common understanding that will provide,
  54.    A basis for future cleavage hypothesis.
  55. There are three elements to a cleavage in our laboratory:
  56.    (1) Structure: empirical, ascriptive, or demographic signs.
  57.    (2) Attitude: normative or value categories.
  58.    (3) Institution: political, organizational, or behavioral stories.
  59.  Personally, I prefer (1) demographic, (2) value,
  60.    And (3) political; as the cleavage assignments—regardless,
  61.       Are we clear about the three cleavage elements?
  62. When you are only able to find one cleavage element,
  63.    Floating alone: call that a difference.
  64. When you are able to clearly locate two cleavage elements,
  65.    Happily married: call that a divide.
  66. There are three divides that you will likely find:
  67.    Structure married to attitude: call this a position divide.
  68.    Structure married to institution: call this a census divide.
  69.    Attitude married to institution: call this an issue divide.
  70. Of course, if you find all three cleavage elements aligned,
  71.    This is called a full cleavage, and, Deegan-Krause says,
  72.       “Is the Holy Grail for political scientists.”[3]
  73. Issues divides: to rearticulate; attitudes married to institutions,
  74.    Have been quite popular in the past forty years of research.
  75.        For instance, Sartori (1976) sees the programmatic left and right,
  76.           Seeking the differences of market versus state distribution;
  77.               Secularism against denominations,
  78.                 Ethnicity against integration, and,
  79.                   Democracy against authoritarianism.
  80.        For example, Inglehart (1977) locates material versus
  81.           Post-materialist values. And many others examine,
  82.               Domestic protection against international integration; or,
  83.                   Immigration v. globalization.
  84. Thus, issues generally refers to “the interplay between attitude
  85.          and partisanship.”[4]
  86. Lipset and Rokkan’s structural elements are adaptable:
  87.    The urban-rural cleavage is now geographical difference;
  88.    The owner-worker cleavage is now socio-economic status;
  89.    The center-periphery cleavage is now cultural difference,
  90.          Particularly, ethnicity;
  91.    The church-state cleavage is now cultural values and religiosity.
  92. Other developing cleavages in need of rigorous investigation,
  93.    Are generational, educational, economic, and gender differentiations,
  94.    Are political participation, environmental protection, and sex and
  95.        Reproduction-related issues.
  96. New alignments matter; see, why do postmodern attitudes,
  97.     So rarely align with pro-market attitudes?
  98. Why is party loyalty diminishing decade by decade; particularly,
  99.     The weakening of working-class loyalty from left-wing parties?
  100. Why is there a decline in the salience of the religious / secular divide,
  101.     In the Netherlands—where it once dominated many minds?
  102. What caused this decline in cleavage politics!? Do hypothesize!
  103. My answer: postmaterialist and libertarian issues,
  104.   Weakly connect to class, religion, and social structures.
  105. As Knutsen (1988) argued: economic attitudes,
  106.    Have misplaced and walked away from structural roots.
  107. The implications are immense; because, the issue dimension,
  108.    Better explained partisan choice; rather than structures or,
  109.       Structures combined with attitudes therein.
  110. In truth, recall, politics is like surfing. Therefore,
  111.   Structures framing issue divides may be shifting
  112.     To new divides. Indeed, there are new socio-cultural
  113.       Professionals and routine-office workers.
  114.    In these times, class is disaggregating.
  115.      ‘Tis most important to study the patterns!
  116. In postcommunist Europe, Innes (2005) found catch-all parties.[5]
  117.     Meaning, the parties did not play on divisions in society,
  118.         To differentiate themselves from the other sides.
  119.             All were surfing in the same tide…
  120. However, the parties did fight over cultural liberalism:
  121.    The role of the church, abortion, pornography and consumerism;
  122.        Active was the generational effects of Communist restrictions.
  123. The people were conflicted over minority rights within the state;
  124.    Nationalism arose as a unique cross-cutting cleavage.
  125. There were salient authoritarian-libertarian divides;
  126.    Heated arguments arose over the democratic strides,
  127.        Necessary to implement or avoid in time.
  128. For example, authoritarianism often aligned with nationalism,
  129.    Even though regional evidence is quite limited.
  130. In Latin America, the relevance of cleavages is:
  131.    There are no [or few] full cleavages—
  132.        They’re rare and scarce. All is heterogeneous.
  133.            To surf when you know the are sharks: not genius;
  134.               Better to catch the surf, than to bluff.
  135. In the Middle East, we only have data from a few democracies,
  136.    Such as Israel and Turkey. For most are quite authoritarian, or,
  137.          Currently transitioning. Think of the Arab Spring!
  138. In the former said countries, full cleavage is observable,
  139.    And gaining momentum, concerning:
  140.        Religious identity and the degree of religiosity.
  141. In Asia, Japan’s left-right divide was not about class,
  142.    Rather, foreign policy and defense.
  143.    And during the political reordering of the 1990s,
  144.        Came the demise of left-right politics.
  145.   Korea’s politics focuses on socioeconomic transformation.
  146.    Yet, there are also important attitudinal elements,
  147.       Organized through structural regionalism,
  148.          In the midst of clientelistic, personality dominated,
  149.             Informal and institutionalized intra-party factions.
  150.    In Indonesia, there is an Islamist and secular divide,
  151.       Along attitudinal and structural lines.
  152.     In India, caste weakens the structural element,
  153.         Of the Hinduism-related cleavage component.
  154. In Africa, there are slogans without programs.
  155.    In many countries, structure [identity],
  156.       Does predict voting behavior according to groups,
  157.          According to the homeland.
  158.    Posner, par excellence, explores the conditions whereby,
  159.       Cultural cleavages are politically salient in Zambia and Malawi.[6]
  160.    Through a natural experiment due to the division of the Chewa,
  161.       And Tumbuka peoples in Malawi and Zambia, Poser documents:
  162.             Objective cultural differences between Chewas and Tumbukas,
  163.                On both sides of the border are identical;
  164.             However, the political salience in each state is totally different;
  165.                The different sizes of the tribal communities creates
  166.                   Different strategies for power players to bargain for voting;
  167.             In Malawi, Chewas and Tumbukas are large groups visa-vis,
  168.                Within the border of the country; and thus become a foundation,
  169.                   For political coalition-building;
  170.             In Zambia, Chewas and Tumbukas are small groups within the country,
  171.                And so not useful to mobilize a voting constituency;
  172.             Hence the political salience of a cultural cleavage may depend,
  173.                Not on the nature of the structure cleavage itself (i.e., identity),
  174.                   Rather; the size of the groups in political competition!
  175.                     In Zambia, small waves. In another, the “Title” to the Play!
  176. Today, there are patterns and trends in cleavage studies,
  177.    Worth understanding.
  178. Excluding African states, for example, attitudes are salient
  179.    In determining political choice.
  180. Issue divides are most observable in Western countries;
  181.    Such as postmaterialism and materialism,
  182.       (i.e., libertarianism and authoritarianism),
  183.    Or between state and market-distribution.
  184. Issue divides often depend on symbols and social learning.
  185. Scientists have witnessed a decline in class voting.
  186. Yet linguistic and ethnic boundaries remain,
  187.     Quite significant in most countries.
  188. Fundamentalist Christianity in North America,
  189.  As well as fundamentalist religions in other regions,
  190.    Such as fundamentalist Islam in Arab countries,
  191.      Enforce structures that are relevant elements of politics.
  192. Thus class is disintegrating while occupational
  193.    And sectoral categories increasingly become relevant things.
  194. A political candidate better address such developments,
  195.    If s/he is planning on winning.
  196. Attitudes appear to be more and more the dominant element,
  197.   Which may cause the census divide’s disappearance:
  198.     The non-attitudinal relationship ‘tween structure and voting,
  199.       Since structural groups build up attitudes in electoral framing.
  200. Issue divides may be resilient amidst weak structures,
  201.    However, much more structural research is needed, I fancy.
  202. For instance, structures are important when researching minorities,
  203.    Yet the patterns are still forming regarding who seeks,
  204.       Increased minority rights. Indeed, the debate may peek,
  205.          As the focal point of debate within a majority clique.
  206.    This same debate occurs regarding religion’s critique.
  207. Thus, these issue divides are observable in many regions or states,
  208.    As the acceptance or rejection of a full cleavage!
  209. When ethno-nationalists or fundamentalists come out on top,
  210.    Full cleavages have likely appeared—a successful chop!
  211. When they fail, expect another structural debate to assail…
  212. Cleavage research does not account for all voting endeavors,
  213.    For there are at least three other categories to consider:
  214.       Personalism; voting based on personality or credentials,
  215.           Regardless of policy proposals or clique differentials.
  216.       Clientelism; voting based on tangible rewards.
  217.       Pocketbook voting; voting based on the former two,
  218.          While adding a general forecast of economic performance too.
  219. On the other hand, clientelism may represent much structure,
  220.     For there are close-knit networks observable to the scientist.
  221. And, personalism may be a result of inadequate survey questions.
  222. Today, cleavage work may go beyond patterns and focus on,
  223.    Causal mechanisms.
  224. You may find this story via the top-down approach; i.e., elites,
  225.     And bottom-up approach; i.e., the role of society.
  226. The research question then becomes: When is one side more heavy,
  227.     And so determines the outcome for victory?
  228. It is not unimportant to find which cleavage matters least!
  229. Political agency may impact attitudinal and structural elements.
  230.     For political actors may reduce social divisions,
  231.         Or politicize them for their own electoral benefit.
  232. Truly, parties may even create structural differences,
  233.     Creating identities and forming community preferences!
  234. You may witness parties linking unrelated attitudes; whereas,
  235.     The parties in the electorate jump on the bandwagon!
  236. For example, Enyedi (2005) observed that Hungary’s
  237.   Young Democrat party recruited more authoritarian voters,
  238.    And maintained a youthful electoral base;
  239.      Even though a promoter of authoritarianism—to be sure.
  240. Concluding thus, scientists study cleavages in a society,
  241.    Because they shape and predict electoral destiny.
  242. In some countries, cleavages are great for stability,
  243.    Yet in others, cleavages may exacerbate volatility.
  244. Just think of the 1860 election in the United States,
  245.    When one faction felt total exclusion from the polity,
  246.        And so they decided, from the Union, to secede.
  247. Meaning, winner-take-all polarized communities,
  248.     Often predict a destabilizing regime.
  249. On the other hand, when rival positions are oscillating,
  250.    There may be little threat to civil rights and liberties; and,
  251.         There may be great strides taken to fortify democracy.

Handout: Figure by Deegan-Krause.

(permission to reprint received from author, 2012)


[1] “Utforske” is Norwegian for “explore.” This method is: Explain to graduate students that the main goal of the class is to provide the substantive discussions in order to enable new research projects. In this way, students are required to jot down hypothesis during the class lecture/discussion—and to argue in class in order to flush out new ideas—according to the material read for class. In the last twenty minutes of class, the professor does let students explain their hypothesis (and perhaps method); and then the professor answers! Perhaps the hypothesis could be more narrowly defined—and reworded to more accurately reflect a null hypothesis, etc. What’s the dependent variable? Independent variables? Then, the class (and professor) would suggest methods (random sampling, ANES data, Roll Call, etc). Obviously, the professor would try to pair students with different strengths together, and, the professor would likely need to co-author some articles at times.

[2] This begins an analysis of [Draft] Deegan-Krause. 2006. New Dimensions of Political Cleavage. Oxford Handbook of Political Science, eds. R. Dalton and H. D. Klingemann. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[3] Lecture, Winter 2012.

[4] Ibid. Page 3 [draft copy].

[5] I digress: If there was ever a misnomer in political science twice the size of the Milky Way—it is to advance that societies, to date, have ever approached/acted out communism. Communism has not seen the light of day. The Soviet Union and the Eastern block preached communism, in a manner consistent with Machiavelli’s ecclesiastical state [communism as the untouchable Word]; yet those countries were always authoritarian—not even communism-lite. Indeed, much of political science today is simply aligning concepts [words] with empirical evidence. Seriously, it is necessary to, eventually, free communism from this historical hi-jacking. Why not replace “Communist” with “Soviet”?

[6] Posner. 2004. The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas Are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi. The American Political Science Review, V. 98, N. 4, pp. 529-545.

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