In this paper we investigate the linkage between changes in the political culture on the one hand and changes in class-party alignments on the other. First we investigate how the political culture in Western countries has changed over-time. Three views are tested using data on party-manifestos. The first predicts that only new-leftist issues will increase in salience. The second predicts that both new-leftist and new-rightist issues will emerge at the same time. The third, which is empirically corroborated, predicts that first new-leftist issues will emerge followed by a rise in new right-wing issues. Second, we investigate how the emergence of these new issues has affected the traditional class-party alignments. Using the International Mobility and Stratification File we show that the middle class increasingly votes left-wing as new-leftist issues become more important and that the working class increasingly votes right-wing as new-rightist issues become more important. Next to that, the middle class appears to alienate from the traditional party of their class as new-rightist issues rise in salience. At the end of the paper we discuss the implications of our findings.

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Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
Res Publica: Belgian journal of political science
Department of Sociology

Achterberg, P., & van der Waal, J. (2006). Stille revolutie, contra-revolutie of cultureel conflict?. Res Publica: Belgian journal of political science, 1–25. Retrieved from