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Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe

New Cleavages in Left and Right Politics

Swen Hutter

Publication Year: 2014

In this far-reaching work, Swen Hutter demonstrates the usefulness of studying both electoral politics and protest politics to better understand the impacts of globalization. Hutter integrates research on cleavage politics and populist parties in Western Europe with research on social movements. He shows how major new cleavages restructured protest politics over a thirty-year period, from the 1970s through the 1990s. This major study brings back the concept of cleavages to social movement studies and connects the field with contemporary research on populism, electoral behavior, and party politics.

Hutter’s work extends the landmark 1995 New Social Movements in Western Europe, the book that spurred the recognition that a broad empirical frame is valuable for understanding powerful social movements. This new book shows that it is also beneficial to include the study of political parties and protest politics. While making extensive use of public opinion, protest event, and election campaigning data, Hutter skillfully employs contemporary data from six West European societies—Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland—to account for responses to protest events and political issues across countries.

Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe makes productive empirical, methodological, and theoretical contributions to the study of social movements and comparative politics. Empirically, it employs a new approach, along with new data, to explain changes in European politics over several decades. Methodologically, it makes rigorous yet creative use of diverse datasets in innovative ways, particularly across national borders. And theoretically, it makes a strong claim for considering the distinctive politics of protest across various issue domains as it investigates the asymmetrical politics of protest from left and right.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Social Movements, Protest and Contention


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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: From the Libertarian Left to the Populist Right

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pp. ix-xxvi

This book aims to link research on cleavage politics and the populist radical right with research on social movements. Both research fields have extensively dealt with the transformative power of globalization on national politics. At the same time, both fields have tended to neglect the existence of various arenas of political mobilization, and focus on different features of...

I. Theoretical Framework and the Context of Protest Politics

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1. Globalization and the Integration–Demarcation Cleavage

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pp. 3-24

This chapter elaborates on the argument that we have witnessed the rise of an integration–demarcation cleavage across Western Europe since the 1990s. Following the simple model of political change, the chapter starts by focusing on the phenomenon of globalization, which is expected to be a new critical juncture in the development of cleavage structures. Given Olesen’s (2005) and Tarrow’s (2005) criticism that the concept of globalization is often misused...

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2. Protest Politics, Electoral Politics, and the Political Process Approach

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pp. 25-43

The previous chapter emphasized globalization and how it creates new groups of winners and losers; this chapter focuses on the second core element of the simple model of political change: the political process. As argued in the Introduction, political potentials resulting from social change do not translate directly into political conflict, and the question of who is being organized into politics by whom should be a key subject of any cleavage analysis. More...

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3. The Context Faced by Challengers: Institutions, Prevailing Strategies, and Cleavages

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pp. 44-60

This chapter is devoted to the question of how the political context faced by protestors differs across the six countries under scrutiny. More precisely, we turn to the hard core of the political process framework: the political opportunity structures (see Figure 3 in the Introduction). These structures are “expected to remain relatively stable, at least in the mid, if not necessarily in the long run” (Diani and van der Heijden 1994, 368) and to influence the way new cleavages manifest themselves in the protest arena of a given country. As stated in the...

II. Empirical Analyses of Protest Politics

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4. A New Protest Wave in the Age of Globalization?

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pp. 63-78

This chapter commences the second part of the book, on whether and how protest politics in Western Europe has changed because of a rise of a new integration–demarcation cleavage. Part II, which consists of four chapters, empirically traces developments in the protest arena. Each chapter focuses on different features of protest politics. As stated in the Introduction, conflict intensity and transnationalization are the features discussed in this chapter, while chapters 5 and 6 are devoted to the issue divides in the protest arena. ...

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5. Issue Divides in the Protest Arena: The Big Picture

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pp. 79-96

The next two chapters focus on the issues and demands raised by protestors. By studying issue divides, we come closer to seeing whether and how the integration–demarcation cleavage has transformed protest politics. I highlight both the salience of issues and differing issue positions, because the term divide “effectively captures the notion of distinct sides” (Deegan-Krause 2007, 539). As argued in chapter 1, issue divides lie at the heart of a perspective that takes the role of contemporary political conflicts in the perpetuation and...

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6. Issue Divides in the Protest Arena: The Comparative Picture

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pp. 97-115

This chapter traces the questions of how the issue divides in the protest arena differ across countries and whether these differences can be linked to the relatively stable aspects of the political context faced by protestors, that is, to the strength of the traditional class cleavage and the way the new cleavages manifested themselves in more institutionalized political arenas. Does the strength of the traditional class cleavage negatively or positively affect the salience of...

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7. Different Logics at Work? The Relationship between Protest and Electoral Politics

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pp. 116-131

The previous chapters have shown that globalization has led to new potentials on the demand side, and that these potentials have in turn restructured political mobilization. The patterns of change differ significantly across arenas of mobilization, however. The protest arena continues to be far more shaped by cultural liberalism, the main issue of the left-libertarian round, than does the electoral arena. During the years of the first round, the driving forces...

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Conclusion: The Dynamics of Cleavage Politics across Political Arenas

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pp. 132-146

The impact of globalization on politics has become a major topic both in social movement research and in the analysis of cleavage politics. However, both fields emphasize different features of the politics of globalization, because they tend to neglect the existence of different arenas of political mobilization. Usually, social movement scholars focus on the protest arena, while those who are interested in changing cleavage structures and the populist right pay...

Appendix A: The Protest Event Data and Selection Bias Tests

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pp. 147-166

Appendix B: Issue Categorization

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pp. 167-168

Appendix C: Salience of the Specific Issues by Decade and Country

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pp. 169-170

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pp. 171-172

In 2003, I was searching for a topic for my licentiate’s thesis in Zurich. Fortunately, I heard that the research project “National Political Change in a Globalizing World” was looking for two students who would voluntarily spend their days in the library selecting and coding newspaper ads from Swiss political parties. At that time, I had no idea that accepting this offer would lead me years later to be sitting in my office in Florence writing the acknowledgments...


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pp. 173-182


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pp. 183-214


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pp. 215-220

About the Author, Series Page

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pp. 221-223

E-ISBN-13: 9781452941653
E-ISBN-10: 1452941653
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816691203

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Social Movements, Protest and Contention
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 882778584
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political participation -- Europe, Western.
  • Protest movements -- Europe, Western.
  • Conservatism -- Europe, Western.
  • Liberalism -- Europe, Western.
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