Simon Bornschier

Director of the Research area
Political Sociology

University of Zurich

Cleavages and Party System Change

My research focuses on party system formation and change, and the role of ideological polarization in fostering the substantive representation of voter preferences. I am also interested in how protest politics interacts with the electoral arena.

Latin America

In my work on Latin American party systems, I study how historical legacies interact with the competitive strategies of contemporary political parties, producing vast differences in the quality of representation.

Western Europe

Building on my earlier work, I continue to study cleavages in Western Europe. In a collaborative project, we study the role of group identities in the crystallization of the universalism-particularism cleavage, and in the growing antagonism between the New Left and the radical populist right.

Comparative Political Sociology at IPZ

I direct the Research Area Political Sociology at the Department of Political Science (IPZ) at the University of Zurich. My teaching focuses on comparative democratization, party systems and party system change in Latin America and Western Europe, as well as on political protest.

Research Projects

Cleavage Formation in Latin American Party Systems

This project used comparative history to analyze two critical junctures that have shaped South American party systems. It then develops a quantitative measurement of party system responsiveness to test the historical predictions and to chart diverging party system trajectories during Latin America’s “Left Turn”.

Current Courses

University of Zurich (UZH)
Department of Political Science, University of Zurich