A cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage around the world? Evidence from ideological polarization and party–voter linkages

  • Oliver StrijbisEmail author
  • Joschua Helmer
  • Pieter de Wilde
Original Article


Can structural conflict over globalization be observed outside Western Europe? When does such a cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage emerge? These questions are highly relevant as similar conflicts over open borders seem to take place in various countries. To answer these questions, we analyze electoral competition on issues related to globalization such as migration and international integration in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Turkey, and the U.S. We investigate ideological polarization on these two issues at the level of both voters and parties, as well as their linkage through structural and issue voting. At the level of the voters, we analyze preferences on the two issue dimensions with data from the World Values Survey. In order to arrive at valid measures of parties’ policy positions on the same dimensions, we combine data from electoral manifestos, public claims data, and expert surveys. Finally, we link voters’ structural positions and issue preferences with parties’ policy positions through a series of ordered logistic regressions. Our comparative analysis reveals that in our sample a cosmopolitan–communitarian cleavage can be observed only among the affluent immigration countries. We discuss potential explanations for this finding.


Cleavages Cosmopolitanism Communitarianism Comparative politics Polarization Voting behavior 



The article is part of the project “The Political Sociology of Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism” of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. We thank fellow project members Ruud Koopmans, Onawa Lacewell, Wolfgang Merkel, Bernhard Wessels, Michael Zürn for the stimulating collaboration and feedback to drafts of this manuscript. In addition, the article has benefited from the input of (other) colleagues then affiliated to the Research Unit Migration, Integration, Transnationalization (MIT) such as Sarah Carol, Ruth Ditlmann, Marc Helbling, Ines Michalowski, Guiseppe Pietrantuono, Merlin Schaeffer, Dietlind Stolle, and Susanne Veit.

Supplementary material

41269_2018_122_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1310 kb)


  1. Bartolini, Stefano. 2000. The Political Mobilization of the European Left, 1860–1980: The Class Cleavage. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartolini, Stefano, and Peter Mair. 1990. Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability: The Stabilisation of European Electorates, 1885–1985. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bergh, Andreas, and Therese Nilsson. 2010. Do Liberalization and Globalization Increase Income Inequality? European Journal of Political Economy 26 (4): 488–505. Scholar
  4. Bergh, Johannes, and Tor Bjørklund. 2011. The Revival of Group Voting: Explaining the Voting Preferences of Immigrants in Norway. Political Studies 59 (2): 308–327. Scholar
  5. Bornschier, Simon. 2010. Cleavage Politics and the Populist Right: The New Cultural Conflict in Western Europe. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Budge, Ian, Hans Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara, and Eric Tanenbaum. 2001. Mapping Policy Preferences, Estimates for Parties, Governments and Electors 1945–1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. De Wilde, Pieter (forthcoming) Mapping policy and polity contestation about globalization: Issue linkage in the news. In The Struggle over Borders, edited by Pieter De Wilde, Ruud Koopmans, Wolfgang Merkel, Oliver Strijbis and Michael Zürn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in press.Google Scholar
  8. De Wilde, Pieter, Ruud Koopmans, Wolfgang Merkel, Oliver Strijbis, and Michael Zürn (forthcoming) The Struggle over Borders. Cambridge University Press, in press.Google Scholar
  9. De Wilde, Pieter, Ruud Koopmans, and Michael Zürn. 2014. The Political Sociology of Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism: Representative Claims Analysis WZB Discussion Papers SP IV SP IV (102).
  10. Dreher, Axel, Noel Gaston, and Pim Martens. 2008. Measuring Globalisation: Gauging Its Consequences. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Enyedi, Zsolt. 2008. The Social and Attitudinal Basis of Political Parties: Cleavage Politics Revisited. European Review 16 (3): 287–304. Scholar
  12. Hainmueller, Jens, and Michael J. Hiscox. 2006. Learning to Love Globalization: Education and Individual Attitudes Toward International Trade. International Organization 60 (2): 469–498. Scholar
  13. Held, David, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton. 1999. Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hellwig, Timothy. 2014. Globalization and Mass Politics: Retaining the Room to Maneuver. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hooghe, Liesbet, and Gary Marks. 2017. Cleavage Theory Meets Europe’s Crises: Lipset, Rokkan, and the Transnational Cleavage. Journal of European Public Policy. Scholar
  16. Hooghe, Liesbet, Gary Marks, and Carole J. Wilson. 2002. Does Left/Right Structure Party Positions on European Integration? Comparative Political Studies 35 (8): 965–989. Scholar
  17. Johann, David, Kathrin Thomas, Thorsten Faas, and Sebastian Fietkau (2016) Alternative Messverfahren rechtspopulistischen Wählens im Vergleich: Empirische Erkenntnisse aus Deutschland und Österreich. In Wahlen und Wähler: Analysen aus Anlass der Bundestagswahl 2013, edited by Harald Schoen und Bernhard Weßels, 447–470. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Klingemann, Hans-Dieter. 2005. Political Parties and Party Systems. In The European Voter, edited by Jacques Thomassen, 22–63. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kriesi, Hanspeter, Edgar Grande, Martin Dolezal, Marc Helbling, Dominic Höglinger, Swen Hutter, and Bruno Wüest. 2012. Political Conflict in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kriesi, Hanspeter, Edgar Grande, Romain Lachat, Martin Dolezal, Simon Bornschier, and Timotheos Frey. 2006. Globalization and the Transformation of the National Political Space: Six European Countries Compared. European Journal of Political Research 45 (6): 921–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kriesi, Hanspeter, Edgar Grande, Romain Lachat, Martin Dolezal, Simon Bornschier, and Timotheos Frey. 2008. West European Politics in the Age of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kriesi, Hanspeter. 2010. Restructuration of Partisan Politics and the Emergence of a New Cleavage Based on Values. West European Politics 33 (3): 673–685. Scholar
  23. Lachat, Romain. 2008. The Impact of Party Polarization on Ideological Voting. Electoral Studies 27 (4): 687–698. Scholar
  24. Lipset, Seymour M., and Stein Rokkan. 1967. Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments. An Introduction. In Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives, edited by Stein Rokkan and Seymour M. Lipset, 1–64. The Free Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lupu, Noam. 2014. Party Polarization and Mass Partisanship: A Comparative Perspective. Political Behavior 37 (2): 331–356. Scholar
  26. Mau, Steffen, Jan Mewes, and Ann Zimmermann. 2008. Cosmopolitan Attitudes through Transnational Social Practices? Global Networks 8 (1): 1–24. Scholar
  27. Oesch, Daniel. 2006. Coming to Grips with a Changing Class Structure An Analysis of Employment Stratification in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. International Sociology 21 (2): 263–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Oesch, Daniel. 2008. The Changing Shape of Class Voting. European Societies 10 (3): 329–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Roeder, Antje. 2011. Does Mobility Matter for Attitudes to Europe? A Multi-Level Analysis of Immigrants’ Attitudes to European Unification. Political Studies 59 (2): 458–471. Scholar
  30. Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger. 2017. The ‘Alternative Für Deutschland in the Electorate’: Between Single-Issue and Right-Wing Populist Party. German Politics 26 (1): 124–148. Scholar
  31. Strijbis, Oliver (forthcoming) Who is the most frequent traveller? The cosmopolitanism of national, European, and global elites. In The Struggle over Borders, edited by Pieter De Wilde, Ruud Koopmans, Wolfgang Merkel, Oliver Strijbis, and Michael Zürn. Cambridge University Press, in press.Google Scholar
  32. Strijbis, Oliver. 2014. Migration Background and Voting Behavior in Switzerland: A Socio-Psychological Explanation. Swiss Political Science Review 20 (4): 612–631. Scholar
  33. Stubager, Rune. 2008. Education Effects on Authoritarian–libertarian Values: A Question of Socialization. The British Journal of Sociology 59 (2): 327–350. Scholar
  34. Stubager, Rune. 2009. Education-Based Group Identity and Consciousness in the Authoritarian-Libertarian Value Conflict. European Journal of Political Research 48 (2): 204–233. Scholar
  35. Stubager, Rune. 2010. The Development of the Education Cleavage: Denmark as a Critical Case. West European Politics 33 (3): 505–533. Scholar
  36. Stubager, Rune. 2013. The Changing Basis of Party Competition: Education, Authoritarian-Libertarian Values and Voting. Government and Opposition 48 (3): 372–397. Scholar
  37. Teney, Céline, Onawa Promise Lacewell, and Pieter De Wilde. 2014. Winners and Losers of Globalization in Europe: Attitudes and Ideologies. European Political Science Review 6 (04): 575–595. Scholar
  38. Tillie, Jean. 1998. Explaining Migrant Voting Behaviour in the Netherlands. Combining the Electoral Research and Ethnic Studies Perspective. Revue Européenne Des Migrations Internationales 14 (2): 71–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Volkens, Andrea, Pola Lehmann, Theres Matthieß, Nicolas Merz, Sven Regel, and Bernhard Weßels. 2017. The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR). Version 2017a. Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB).
  40. Vowles, Jack, Georgios Xezonakis, Timothy Hellwig, and Eva Coffey. 2009. Survey of Experts on Political Parties and Globalization, January 2009–April 2009.
  41. Wüst, Andreas M. 2004. Naturalised Citizens as Voters: Behaviour and Impact. German Politics 13 (2): 341–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zürn, Michael, and Pieter De Wilde. 2016. Debating Globalization: Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism as Political Ideologies. Journal of Political Ideologies 21 (3): 280–301. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Strijbis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joschua Helmer
    • 2
  • Pieter de Wilde
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.NTNU TrondheimTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations