Farewell to the Leftist Working Class

Overview

Social conflicts and voting patterns in Western nations indicate a gradual erosion of working-class support for the left, a process that class theory itself cannot adequately explain. Farewell to the Leftist Working Class aims to fill this gap by developing, testing, and confirming an alternative explanation of rightist tendencies among the underprivileged. The authors argue that cultural issues revolving around individual liberty and maintenance of social order have become much...

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Overview

Social conflicts and voting patterns in Western nations indicate a gradual erosion of working-class support for the left, a process that class theory itself cannot adequately explain. Farewell to the Leftist Working Class aims to fill this gap by developing, testing, and confirming an alternative explanation of rightist tendencies among the underprivileged. The authors argue that cultural issues revolving around individual liberty and maintenance of social order have become much more significant since World War II.

The obligation to work and strict notions of deservingness have become central to the debate about the welfare state. Indeed, although economic egalitarianism is more typically found among the working class, it is only firmly connected to a universalistic and inclusionary progressive political ideology among the middle class.

Farewell to the Leftist Working Class reports cutting-edge research into the withering away of working-class support for the left and the welfare state, drawing mostly on survey data collected in Western Europe, the United States, and other Western countries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Farewell to the Leftist Working Class is a quantitative study of primarily working class voting patterns based on survey data largely from Western Europe and some from the United States… [It] examine[s] the class theory of politics and seek[s] to determine whether the theory is still relevant when explaining working class politics in particular, and if not, to suggest an alternative explanation for working class voting patterns… The authors conclude that the decline of leftist voting patterns and the rise of voting on the part of the working classes of Western capitalist countries does not necessarily disprove a class theory of politics but rather confirms a cultural theory of politics.” —Rhonda F. Levine, Contemporary Sociology “[H]ighly interesting. The general idea pursued is intriguing and constitutes an important contribution to the debate about the electoral importance not only of class, but also of social structure altogether. The authors make good use of a wide variety of data sources and arrive at highly relevant substantial conclusions.” —Rune Stubager, University of Aarhus, Denmark
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412849531
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/20/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 154
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Houtman is professor of cultural sociology at the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology at Erasmus University. His most recent work is Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality. Peter Achterberg is associate professor of sociology and member of the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology at Erasmus University. He is the co-editor of The Transformation of Controversial Solidarity.

Anton Derks is a visiting professor at the department of sociology at the Free University of Brussels. His works have appeared in Public Opinion Quarterly, World Political Science Review, and the European Journal of Political Research.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 The Specter of the Rightist Working Class 1

2 What Drives "Unnatural" Voting? A Cultural Explanation for Voting Behavior 15

3 A Cross-Pressured Working Class? Class Voting, Cultural Voting, and Issue Salience 37

4 The End of Left and Right? The Transformation of Political Culture (1945-1998) 55

5 A Decline of Class Voting? Class Voting and Cultural Voting in the Postwar Era (1956-1990) (with Jeroen van der Waal) 71

6 The Working Class and the Welfare State: Judgments on the Rights and Obligations of the Unemployed 91

7 Is Working-Class Economic Egalitarianism Really that Politically Progressive? Economic Populism, Egalitarianism, and Political Progressiveness 105

8 Conclusion: Class Is Not Dead-It Has Been Buried Alive 119

Appendix 1 Measurement of Four Types of Issue Salience 125

Appendix 2 Secondary Data Sources 127

References 129

About the Authors 141

Index 143

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