class cleavage

class cleavage

the class-based conflict in Western democracies between competing left- and right-wing political parties. As expressed by Lipset (Political Parties, 1960), in ‘every modern democracy conflict among different groups is expressed through political parties which basically represent a “democratic expression of the class struggle”’. For Lipset, such forms of‘legitimate’ and ‘domesticated’ class conflict, which replace earlier more socially disruptive forms, are a necessary requirement for a ‘stable liberal democracy’. Modern stable democracies involve cleavage within CONSENSUS, the existence of a basic agreement on the political ‘rules of the game’, and arise from the gradual entry of the lower classes into the political system. See also END-OF-IDEOLOGY THESIS. Lipset's characterization of class cleavage has come under attack from two directions:
  1. from those who do not accept that the elimination of more ‘traditional’ forms of class conflict is an inevitable secular tendency in modern Western societies;
  2. those who argue that a more fundamental CLASS DEALIGNMENT is occurring, leading to the replacement of class as the main basis of political cleavage (see WORKING-CLASS CONSERVATISM) by individualistic bases of identification (e.g. individual choice of LIFESTYLE).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in classic literature ?
The Slot was the metaphor that expressed the class cleavage of Society, and no man crossed this metaphor, back and forth, more successfully than Freddie Drummond.
The dominant cleavage in most of the developed democracies during the 1950s and 1960s was a 'class cleavage' separating a predominantly blue-collar working class from a middle-class in better, and usually white-collar, positions.
Viewed in historical perspective, the basic cleavage structure (1) of Malaysian politics (a Malay/non-Malay cleavage overlaid by a class cleavage) looks strikingly similar to the cleavage structure at independence.
This will pose a problem if the included classes comprise owners of both abundant and scarce factors: we would then expect that the party would always be divided internally over trade--by a class cleavage when levels of mobility are high, and by industry cleavages when mobility is low.
Consequently, following the logic of the European literature, we could expect partisan competition to be most stable in those Latin American countries where it is most thoroughly structured by an underlying, organized class cleavage. This leads to the following hypothesis:
Opinions on whether more should be done to promote the interests of the French-speaking province of Quebec reflect the regional/linguistic cleavage, attitudes towards immigration reflect the ethnic cleavage, attitudes toward unions reflect the class cleavage, and attitudes toward military spending reflect the gender cleavage.
She maintains that by the late 1780s distrust and class cleavage became prevalent in Strasbourg Masonry and that the republican programs during the first years of the French Revolution deepened class wounds among Strasbourg Masons.
The class cleavage eclipsed an urban-rural divide in the 1920s, giving rise on the one hand to a conservative party aligned with capital, and on the other, a labor party aligned with the trade unions.
Income and class cleavages, in contrast to identity cleavages based on race, ethnicity, or religion, have traditionally strengthened the political left.
The authors acknowledge new religious and class cleavages in both societies when they note the growing importance of consuming only food that is halal and how their respondents take pride in being different from their fellow urbanite yuppies.
illustrated that as a result of the specific historical developments class cleavages have not develop in some of Central and Eastern European societies.