By Simon Bornschier, Hanspeter Kriesi, Edgar Grande, Romain Lachat, Martin Dolezal and Tim FreyAbstract:
In this paper, we start from the assumption that the current process of globalization or denationalization leads to the formation of a new structural conflict in Western European countries, opposing those who benefit from this process to those who tend to loose in the course of the events. The structural opposition between globalization ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ is expected to constitute potentials for the political mobilization within national political contexts, the mobilization of which is expected to give rise to two intimately related dynamics: the transformation of the basic structure of the national political space and the strategic repositioning of the political parties within the transforming space. We present several hypotheses with regard to these two dynamics and test them empirically on the basis of newly collected data concerning the supply side of electoral politics from six Western European countries (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland).
The results indicate that in all the countries, the new cleavage has been embedded into the existing two-dimensional national political spaces, that the meaning of the original dimensions has been transformed, and that the configuration of the main parties has become triangular even in a country like France.