Imagining class

A study into material social class position, subjective identification, and voting behavior across Europe

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Abstract

The traditional approach to class voting has largely ignored the question whether material class positions coincide with subjective class identification. Following Sosnaud et al. (2013), this study evaluates party preferences when Europeans’ material and subjective social class do not coincide. Seminal studies on voting behavior have suggested that members of lower classes are more likely to vote for the economic left and cultural right and that higher classes demonstrate the opposite pattern. Yet, these studies have on the one hand overlooked the possibility that there is a mismatch between the material class people can be classified in and the class they think they are part of, and on the other hand the consequences of this discordant class identification on voting behavior. Analyzing the 2009 wave of the European Elections Study, we find that the majority of the Europeans discordantly identify with the middle class, whereas only a minority of the lower and higher classes concordantly identify with their material social class. Further, material class only seems to predict economic voting behavior when it coincides with subjective class; for instance, individuals who have an inflated class identification are more likely to vote for the economic left, even when they materially can be classified as middle or high class. We conclude this paper with a discussion on scholarly debates concerning class and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-89
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume70
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint

class position
voting behavior
social class
class identification
voter
party preference
economic behavior
election research
lower class
mismatch
middle class
voting
economics
minority
politics

Keywords

  • CLASS IDENTITY
  • COUNTRIES
  • Class voting
  • ELECTIONS
  • European elections study
  • INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY
  • INTERGROUP BEHAVIOR
  • Left-right voting
  • POLITICAL-ATTITUDES
  • SWITZERLAND
  • Social class
  • Social identity theory
  • UNITED-STATES
  • Voting behavior
  • WELFARE
  • WORKING-CLASS AUTHORITARIANISM

Cite this

@article{5a255e8ce47a4975a70bf60a305d673e,
title = "Imagining class: A study into material social class position, subjective identification, and voting behavior across Europe",
abstract = "The traditional approach to class voting has largely ignored the question whether material class positions coincide with subjective class identification. Following Sosnaud et al. (2013), this study evaluates party preferences when Europeans’ material and subjective social class do not coincide. Seminal studies on voting behavior have suggested that members of lower classes are more likely to vote for the economic left and cultural right and that higher classes demonstrate the opposite pattern. Yet, these studies have on the one hand overlooked the possibility that there is a mismatch between the material class people can be classified in and the class they think they are part of, and on the other hand the consequences of this discordant class identification on voting behavior. Analyzing the 2009 wave of the European Elections Study, we find that the majority of the Europeans discordantly identify with the middle class, whereas only a minority of the lower and higher classes concordantly identify with their material social class. Further, material class only seems to predict economic voting behavior when it coincides with subjective class; for instance, individuals who have an inflated class identification are more likely to vote for the economic left, even when they materially can be classified as middle or high class. We conclude this paper with a discussion on scholarly debates concerning class and politics.",
keywords = "CLASS IDENTITY, COUNTRIES, Class voting, ELECTIONS, European elections study, INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY, INTERGROUP BEHAVIOR, Left-right voting, POLITICAL-ATTITUDES, SWITZERLAND, Social class, Social identity theory, UNITED-STATES, Voting behavior, WELFARE, WORKING-CLASS AUTHORITARIANISM",
author = "L. D'Hooge and P.H.J. Achterberg and T. Reeskens",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.11.003",
language = "English",
volume = "70",
pages = "71--89",
journal = "Social Science Research",
issn = "0049-089x",
publisher = "ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE",

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T1 - Imagining class

T2 - A study into material social class position, subjective identification, and voting behavior across Europe

AU - D'Hooge, L.

AU - Achterberg, P.H.J.

AU - Reeskens, T.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - The traditional approach to class voting has largely ignored the question whether material class positions coincide with subjective class identification. Following Sosnaud et al. (2013), this study evaluates party preferences when Europeans’ material and subjective social class do not coincide. Seminal studies on voting behavior have suggested that members of lower classes are more likely to vote for the economic left and cultural right and that higher classes demonstrate the opposite pattern. Yet, these studies have on the one hand overlooked the possibility that there is a mismatch between the material class people can be classified in and the class they think they are part of, and on the other hand the consequences of this discordant class identification on voting behavior. Analyzing the 2009 wave of the European Elections Study, we find that the majority of the Europeans discordantly identify with the middle class, whereas only a minority of the lower and higher classes concordantly identify with their material social class. Further, material class only seems to predict economic voting behavior when it coincides with subjective class; for instance, individuals who have an inflated class identification are more likely to vote for the economic left, even when they materially can be classified as middle or high class. We conclude this paper with a discussion on scholarly debates concerning class and politics.

AB - The traditional approach to class voting has largely ignored the question whether material class positions coincide with subjective class identification. Following Sosnaud et al. (2013), this study evaluates party preferences when Europeans’ material and subjective social class do not coincide. Seminal studies on voting behavior have suggested that members of lower classes are more likely to vote for the economic left and cultural right and that higher classes demonstrate the opposite pattern. Yet, these studies have on the one hand overlooked the possibility that there is a mismatch between the material class people can be classified in and the class they think they are part of, and on the other hand the consequences of this discordant class identification on voting behavior. Analyzing the 2009 wave of the European Elections Study, we find that the majority of the Europeans discordantly identify with the middle class, whereas only a minority of the lower and higher classes concordantly identify with their material social class. Further, material class only seems to predict economic voting behavior when it coincides with subjective class; for instance, individuals who have an inflated class identification are more likely to vote for the economic left, even when they materially can be classified as middle or high class. We conclude this paper with a discussion on scholarly debates concerning class and politics.

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KW - ELECTIONS

KW - European elections study

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KW - INTERGROUP BEHAVIOR

KW - Left-right voting

KW - POLITICAL-ATTITUDES

KW - SWITZERLAND

KW - Social class

KW - Social identity theory

KW - UNITED-STATES

KW - Voting behavior

KW - WELFARE

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