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.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
Department of Sociology

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