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Cleavages and Political Transformations

  • Sten Berglund
  • Joakim Ekman
Chapter

Abstract

What is a political cleavage, and what cleavage structures are relevant to European societies today? Drawing on empirical evidence from the political transformations in Central and Eastern Europe, the chapter seeks to enhance the academic discussion on cleavages in contemporary Europe. The chapter breaks down into three parts: an introductory section on the cleavage concept and its connotations; a section on manifest, latent and potential cleavages in Central and Eastern Europe; and finally, a section with an all-European perspective. The chapter highlights the importance of political cleavages for the consolidation of democracy in post-communist Europe, but the empirical evidence from Central and Eastern Europe is also used to discuss political cleavages within the EU. The analysis indicates that the left−right cleavage and, in particular, the European integration−national sovereignty cleavage have potential to emerge as all-European cleavages. At the same time, the actual contents of such divisions − in terms of party competition − remain to be seen.

Keywords

Political Party Party System European Parliament Democratic Consolidation Partial Cleavage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Political SciencesÖrebro University, SwedenÖrebroSweden
  2. 2.Department of Political SciencesSödertörn UniversityStockholmSweden

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