Scott Mainwaring and Mariano Torcal, “The political recrafting of the social bases of party competition, Chile, 1973-1995”, British Journal of Political Science 33 (2003), pp. 55-84.

Main Argument:_ This article examines social cleavages and the impact of political legacies on Chile’s post-authoritarian party system. In contrast to society-oriented approaches to party system formation, Mainwaring and Torcal argue that cleavage appearance in a party system depends on political agency, which can even (re)create social identities and social conflicts. The structure of the party system is deeply influenced by distinctive political legacies of the authoritarian period. The cleavage between those who supported authoritarian rule and those who opposed it has powerfully shaped the party system during the new democratic period.

 

_Method_: Large N survey study (1995 Latinobarometro and the 1994 and 1995 Centro de Estudios Publicos surveys). DV: party preference. IV: Class, worker status.

 

 

== Notes ==

 

 

_Four Important Points With Broader Theoretical & Comparative Applicability:_

–  First, it shows that although cleavages have a social component, they are politically constructed

–  Secondly, the Chilean case poses doubts about the dominant arguments given for the ‘freezing’ and thawing of social cleavages

–  Thirdly, the Chilean case reinforces the evidence that the social cleavage model was geographically and historically bounded

–  Fourthly, the Chilean case shows that it is important to examine the ways in which political elites craft party systems from above during the transition period

 

 

_Cleavages And Party System Formation: The Theoretical Debate_

–  Lipset and Rokkan formulated a ‘cleavage” theory to explain the divisions and forces that shaped Western European party systems –> there are three modal positions

–  First a sociological view – in the sense of ‘objective’ social relations – interpretation

–  This argues that parties represent societal interests, and societal interests fundamentally reflect the sociological position of actors

–  In other words, it is the so-called ‘class causal linkage proposition’

–  Second, a view understands ‘cleavage’ differently and places greater emphasis on the autonomy of party systems vis-a`-vis the sociological explicandum

–  Bartolini and Mair, Knutsen and Scarbrough, and Kriesi argue that a cleavage has three elements: a structural base, the political values of the groups involved, and a political articulation

–  Franklin et al. maintain that cleavages refer to issues, policy differences or political identifications related to certain longstanding conflicts in a particular society

–  The third approach pays more attention to the ways in which political factors in general and political elites in particular shape cleavages and party systems from above

–  Emphasizes that ethnicity and national identities are constructed and that political elites play a major role in building them

–  All three approaches  differ in how they understand the relationship between social cleavages and party system formation

 

 

_Results:_

–  In post-authoritarian Chile (1990–2001), a societal approach does not adequately explain the formation of cleavages or the contours of the party system

–  A modest direct impact of class on coalition preference when other cleavages are controlled for

–  The Chilean case also shows that it is important to examine the ways in which political elites craft party systems from above during the transition period