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.

class, political culture, social change, sociology, voting behaviour
Sociology of Economics (jel A14)
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
Res Publica: Belgian journal of political science
Accepted manuscript
Department of Sociology

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