Agency and the Structure of Party Competition: Alignment, Stability and the Role of Political Elites
Title: Agency and the Structure of Party Competition: Alignment, Stability and the Role of Political Elites
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2010/09; EUDO - European Union Democracy Observatory
The study of cleavages focuses primarily on constraints imposed by socio-demographic factors. While scholars have not ignored the agency of political elites, such scholarship remains fragmented among sub-fields and lacks a coherent conceptual framework. This article explores both temporal stability and positional alignments linking vote choice with socio-demographic characteristics, values and group identity to distinguish among particular kinds of structural constraints. On the basis of those distinctions, it identifies various methods by which elites reshape structures, and it links those to a broader framework that allows more comprehensive research connecting political agents and structural constraints in the electoral realm.
Subject: political parties; cleavages; structure; agency; public opinion
Type of Access: openAccess