Political Structures and Political Mores: Varieties of Politics in Comparative Perspective

Marion Fourcade, Evan Schofer

Sociological Science, June 16, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a19

We offer an integrated study of political participation, bridging the gap between the literatures on civic engagement and social movements. Historically evolved institutions and culture generate different configurations of the political domain, shaping the meaning and forms of political activity in different societies. The structuration of the polity along the dimensions of “stateness” and “corporateness” accounts for cross-national differences in the way individuals make sense of and engage in the political sphere. Forms of political participation that are usually treated as istinct are actually interlinked and co-vary across national configurations. In societies where interests are represented in a formalized manner through corporatist arrangements, political participation revolves primarily around membership in pre-established groups and concerted negotiation, rather than extra-institutional types of action. By contrast, in “statist” societies the centralization and concentration of sovereignty in the state makes it the focal point of claim-making, driving social actors to engage in “public” activities and marginalizing private and, especially, market-based political forms. We test these and other hypotheses using cross-national data on political participation from the World Values Survey.

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Marion Fourcade: Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Email: fourcade@berkeley.edu

Evan Schofer: Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Email: schofer@uci.edu

Acknowledgements: The authors contributed equally to this article. We thank Irene Bloemraad, Steven Brint, David Frank, Ann Hironaka, Ronald Jepperson, Howard Kimmeldorf, John Meyer, Francisco Ramirez, Sandra Smith, Sarah Soule; members of the Stanford Comparative Workshop and the Irvine Comparative Sociology Workshop. The usual disclaimer applies.

  • Citation: Fourcade, Marion and Evan Schofer. 2016. “Political Structures and Political Mores: Varieties of Politics in Comparative Perspective” Sociological Science 3: 413-443.
  • Received: May 8, 2015
  • Accepted: December 23, 2015
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a19

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