Thursday, 4 July 2019

Challenges of Studying Contemporary Cleavage Politics

Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by Edgar Grande

Political conflict in Western democracies is shaped by a new cultural divide which has far-reaching consequences for parties, party systems, protest politics, and voter alignments. The Roundtable addresses conceptual and empirical challenges in studying contemporary cleavage politics and its consequences for democratic stability. Among the questions to be addressed are: How useful is the traditional Lipset/Rokkan model of cleavage formation for an understanding of the newly emerging divide? Are there alternative theories and concepts? Which issues are constitutive for the new divide and who are the driving forces of present-day cleavage politics? Do the new voter groups supporting radical populist parties share a common identity; and if so, what are its main characteristics? How does the new cleavage affect not only party systems but also protest mobilization and social movements?


Sara Hobolt is the Sutherland Chair in European Institutions and professor in the Department of Government and the European Institute at the London School of Economics.

Liesbet Hooghe is the W.R Kenan Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and recurring Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.

Thomas Risse is Professor of International Relations and Dean of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin.

Clare Saunders is Professor in Politics at the University of Exeter.

Edgar Grande is the founding director of the Center for Civil Society Research.