The Changing Basis of Political Conflict in Advanced Western Democracies The Politics of Identity in the United States, the Netherlands, and Belgium

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-06-10
  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot
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This book is concerned with changes in the social structures, demographics, and issues in Western democracies along with the impact of those changes on party systems and policy outcomes. Three countries - the United States, the Netherlands, and Belgium - are examined to determine how they accommodate these changes. The United States is investigated as an example of a stable consolidated party system, the Netherlands is included as a representative fragmented parliamentary regime, and Belgium is an extreme example of a sub-culture alienated from the rest of the country. The conflict between the representation function and the function of forming a majority able to govern is stressed.

Author Biography

Alan Arwine is a Lecturer of Political Science at The University of Kansas. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Southern Illinois University and has previously taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Texas Tech University. He is the coauthor of Birth Order and Political Behavior and Identity Politics as an Alternative to Conservatism and Social Democracy as well as 10 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Lawrence Mayer, Ph.D. University of Texas is the author or co-author of ten books and a dozen articles in academic journals.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Chapter One: Introduction: The Forces Producing the New Politics of Identity
The Impact of Modernization on the Cleavage Structure in the West
Populism in the Modern World
The Challenge to Classic Conservatism in the West
Cultural Change in Western Nations
Classic Conservatism and the Centrist Left
Tolerance and the Politics of Identity
Political Change and the Role of Ideas

Chapter Two: Political Change in a Stable Two Party State: The United States
The Electoral System
Party System Accommodation to Cultural Change in an Aggregated Two Party System
American Populism as a Response to Socio-Economic Change in the United States
The Social Context of Politics in the United States and Social Change
The U.S. Party System and a Changing Cleavage Structure
The Return of Populism in Contemporary America
The Emerging Politics of Identity
The Mobilization of the American Electorate
Ideas and Ideology in the American Political System
Conclusions: A Stable Party System and a Changing Electorate

Chapter Three: The Netherlands: Politics in a Fragmented Culture
A Parliamentary System in a Fragmented Society
The Rise and Decline of Pillarization and the Consociational Accommodation
A Tolerant Society and the Muslim Challenge
The Accommodation of the Party System to a Changing Society
The Emerging Politics of Identity
Conclusions: Party System Adaptation to a Changing Culture

Chapter Four: Belgium: The Politics of Extreme Segmentation
The Consociational Model for Segmented Societies
Constitutional Change: Accommodating a Segmented Culture
The Belgian Political Party System: Accommodating Cultural Change
The Regime Format of a Culturally Segmented Political System
Conclusion: The Issue of Identity in a Culturally Segmented Society

Chapter Five: Conclusions: Patterns of Change in Advanced Western Democracies
The Declining Salience of Socio-Economic Class
The State in the Crisis of Economic Stagnation
Party System Change in Europe
Trends and Changes in the Constitutionally Designated Structures of Western Democracies
The Americanization of the Politics of Western Democracies
The Twilight of the Nation-State?
The Inexorability of Political Change

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