First we investigate how the political culture in western countries has changed over time. Three theoretical views are put to the test 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 the rise in newrightist 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. What’s more, the middle class appears to alienate from the traditional party of their class as new-rightist issues rise in salience.

class, cultural change, political culture, social change, sociology, voting behaviour
Sociology of Economics (jel A14)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
Department of Sociology

Achterberg, P.H.J, & van der Waal, J. (2008). Silent Revolution, Counter-Revolution or Cultural Conflict. Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS). Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from