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Cleavage Identities in Voters’ Own Words: Harnessing Open‐Ended Survey Responses


Zollinger, Delia (2024). Cleavage Identities in Voters’ Own Words: Harnessing Open‐Ended Survey Responses. American Journal of Political Science, 68(1):139-159.

Abstract

Fundamental transformations of underlying cleavage structures in advanced democracies should become evident in new collective identities. This article uses quantitative text analysis to investigate how voters describe their ingroups and outgroups in open-ended survey responses. I look at Switzerland, a paradigmatic case of electoral realignment along a “second,” universalism–particularism dimension of politics opposing the far right and the new left. Keyness statistics and a semi-supervised document scaling method (latent semantic scaling) serve to identify terms associated with the poles of this divide in voters’ responses, and hence to measure universalist/particularist identities. Based on voters’ own words, the results support the idea of collective identities consolidating an emerging cleavage: Voters’ identity descriptions relate to far right versus new left support, along with known sociostructural and attitudinal correlates of the universalism–particularism divide, and they reveal how groups opposed on this dimension antagonistically demarcate themselves from each other.

Abstract

Fundamental transformations of underlying cleavage structures in advanced democracies should become evident in new collective identities. This article uses quantitative text analysis to investigate how voters describe their ingroups and outgroups in open-ended survey responses. I look at Switzerland, a paradigmatic case of electoral realignment along a “second,” universalism–particularism dimension of politics opposing the far right and the new left. Keyness statistics and a semi-supervised document scaling method (latent semantic scaling) serve to identify terms associated with the poles of this divide in voters’ responses, and hence to measure universalist/particularist identities. Based on voters’ own words, the results support the idea of collective identities consolidating an emerging cleavage: Voters’ identity descriptions relate to far right versus new left support, along with known sociostructural and attitudinal correlates of the universalism–particularism divide, and they reveal how groups opposed on this dimension antagonistically demarcate themselves from each other.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Political Science
Language:English
Date:1 January 2024
Deposited On:01 Dec 2022 13:26
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:35
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0092-5853
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12743
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)