If the issue fits, stay put: Cleavage stability, issue compatibility and drastic changes on the immigration ‘issue’

Pontus Odmalm, Betsy Super

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The political mainstream in the Netherlands and Sweden has been challenged by a growing support for the populist radical right and a public opinion that is increasingly dissatisfied with the pursued immigration/integration policies. Conventional narratives suggest that parties respond to these cues by making drastic shifts to their manifesto positions, either in a restrictive/assimilationist or liberal/multicultural direction, as a way of pre-empting any electoral losses or dismissing the niche position. While the Dutch parties have been more likely than their Swedish counterparts to make such changes, they have not always been connected to the above stimuli. The article argues instead that such positional volatility is amplified by the (in)stability of the societal fault lines, and the relative fit between these cleavages and parties’ choice of issue framing (economic or socio-cultural). While providing some support for supply-and-demand explanations, the article’s focus on dimensional stability and issue fit calls attention to the variability in conflict mobilisation and the role of mainstream parties as active agents in shaping debates on immigration and integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-679
Number of pages17
JournalComparative European Politics
Volume12
Issue number6
Early online date16 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • immigration
  • populist radical right
  • mainstream parties
  • manifestos

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