Week 2 Class - Brian Wong
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Week 2 Class - Brian Wong
Decline in Class Voting?
Partial phenomenon - e.g. Mair, Lipset (late), Dalton and Wattenberg, Evans and Tilley
Mixed evidence - new democracies have become more class-voting-centric (e.g. Poland)
cf. de Graaf
Valency theory of voting (Stokes)
Exposure to education
Rising engagement with media
Individual atomisation of identities
Decline in social capital/trust --> individual heuristics and frames
Funnel Model of Voting (Dalton)
Disengagement with political system
Merkl's "Government Failure"/"Democratic Deficit"
Response 1: Underdetermining - class loyalty should not be affected
Response 2: Untrue empirically - cf. rising political engagement in Europe; declining vote shares =/= declining engagement
Response 3: Theory does not account for large democracies such as the USA/post-Cold War democracies
1) Party polarisation thesis - degree of polarisation affects strength of class voting
Mechanism a) Perceived relevance of issues
Mechanism b) Perceived marginal impact of vote
Mechanism c) Idenditarian dichotomisation
2) [REJECTED] Party position thesis - movement of right-wing parties to the left
3) [PARTIALLY TRUE] Party strategisation thesis - triangulation and moderation of left-wing parties
Feeds into 1) above
e.g. Tony Blair in Britain - after a series of Labour defeats
Correlated with declining vote shares/sizes of the working classes
Endogeneity Problem: do party politicians respond to sociological changes,
or are sociological changes the outcomes of their policies?
Specific Analysis of American Democracy
1) Myopic nature of voters --> manipulation of election-year economics statistics
2) Top-obsessed nature of voters --> high-income households as signalling device for parties
3) Campaign funding --> role of parties in coordinating and managing financing in enabling electoral success
Trendless Fluctuation - Manza
Increasing importance of class - van der Waal
Explaining Class Voting
Explanation 1: Income ~ Class Voting?
Rational Choice Theory
Income =/= Class - cf. Goldthorpe method of classification
Occupations determine preferences, not income - cf. Weakliem and Heath
Empirical counter-evidence: high-income proletariat and low-income service workers have fundamentally
different voting patterns
Even occupational theories fail to account for wide discrepancies across different occupations in different societies
Sociological dimensions of occupation
Preferences (cf. Bourdieu's theory of consumption)
Identitarian and communitarian association
Explanation 2: Policy Preferences?
Weakliem and Heath find that policy preferences are empirically incomplete/inadequate explanations
Preferences re: redistributionist policies/inegalitarianism vs. egalitarianism cleavage
Explanation 3: Sociotropic vs. Egocentric Voting?
Weakliem and Heath - role of party strategies
Tories tend to emphasise sociotropic merit - ability to cater to/care for working + middle classes
Labour Party plays on class solidarity/working-class identity more frequently
Explanation 4: Sociological Influence?
Weakliem and Heath attribute class voting primarily to this
Explanation 5: Class Voting as embedded variables
Racial dimension in the USA?
Anti-establishment/anti-authoritarian elements in Europe (cf. Kitschelt's New Left/Right theory?)