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Dick Houtman argues that neither authoritarianism nor libertarianism can be explained by class or economic background, but rather by position in the cultural domain— what he calls cultural capital. Although he examines all of the statistics and arguments of the conventional approaches with care and concern, Houtman convincingly demonstrates that the conclusions drawn from earlier studies are untenable at a more general theoretical level.
Despite differences among advocates of class explanations, their theories are based on largely identical research findings—in particular a strong negative relationship between education and authoritarianism. Unobstructed by the conclusions these authors felt called upon to draw from the findings themselves, Houtman configures them in a new way. The hypotheses derived from this new theory allow for a systematic, strict, and competitive testing of original theses without ignoring the value of and earlier research.
After demonstrating that authoritarianism and libertarianism cannot be explained by class or economic background, Houtman examines the implications of this argument for today's death of class debate in political sociology. He holds it to be unfortunate that the relevance of class to politics is typically addressed by studying the relation between class and voting. This conceals a complex cross-pressure mechanism that causes this relationship to capture the net balance of class voting and its opposite, cultural voting, instead of class voting.
He argues that references to a decline in class voting may be basically correct, but dogmatic reliance on the relation between class and voting to prove the point systematically underestimates levels of class voting and produces an exaggerated picture of the decline.
"Dick Houtman has an eye for the critical gap in our grand theorizing, and like the classic Dutchman, has filled the gap. This book we must all read to find how better to fill the gaps in our own theorizing about culture, class, and politics."—Terry Nichols Clark, University of Chicago Dick Houtman is professor of sociology at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
|1||"Marxism Lite": Modernity, Industrialism, and Culture||1|
|2||What Is Actually a "Class"? Martin Lipset and "Working-Class" Authoritarianism||24|
|3||What About Occupational Self-Direction? Melvin Kohn and "Working-Class" Authoritarianism||47|
|4||Is Postmaterialism Really Different from Libertarianism? And Can It Be Explained Materialistically?||66|
|5||Why Are There So Many Postmaterialists in Affluent Countries? An International Comparison||83|
|6||Who Votes for Whom? And Why Exactly? Class, Cultural Capital, and Voting Behavior||103|
|7||Has There Really Been a Decline in Class Voting? Class Voting and Cultural Voting in Britain, 1974-1997||121|
|8||Conclusion: "Marxism Lite" and Its Blind Spot for Culture||145|
|App.: Secondary Data Sources||172|