Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe: New Cleavages in Left and Right Politics.
My book has been reviewed in Czech Sociological Review, Contemporary Sociology, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Mobilization, Social Forces and West European Politics!
"Recent studies on the impact of globalization on national politics have focused on the electoral arena as a central object of study. On the other hand, social movement scholars have become ‘‘movement-centric’’ and have neglected the broader political context of protests and mobilizations. This disparity has led to a division of fields in the study of political conflict and globalization. Swen Hutter manages to reach across this gap, demonstrating the importance of integrating both approaches in order to attain a fruitful explanation of political conflict in the context of globalization. In this sense, Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe is highly successful in building a common ground for social movements and electoral politics while at the same time making a compelling study of the changing structures of cleavages in Western Europe. […] Although Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europeis of special interest to scholars of social movements and political science, readers from every corner of the social sciences will find this study interesting and absorbing. Furthermore, it employs a clear and concise style that will walk the reader through an easy understanding of several political and sociological theories." (Contemporary Sociology)
"Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe impresses by its ambition. It endeavours – and successfully so – to draw the big picture when dealing with one of the most significant as well as challenging questions for today’s political scientists: how have patterns of conflict, or cleavages, changed over the past decades in Western Europe? In order to tackle this question, Hutter faces the many challenges and dilemmas which have often been avoided by others." (West European Politics)
"This refined and empirically grounded study ultimately aims to inspire scholars to address challenging economic, political, and cultural issues in the era of globalization by focusing on new and old cleavages and their manifestations in protest and electoral politics. Its findings will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, contemporary historians, and social scientists interested in how these issues are expressed in protest and electoral arenas, from the macro to the micro perspective." (Social Forces)
"Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe is a successful attempt to link research on cleavage politics and the populist radical right with research on social movements and, more broadly, to connect the study of protest politics with that of electoral politics. The book’s central question is whether and how protest politics in Western Europe has changed because of the rise of a new integration-demarcation cleavage brought about by globalization. The starting point is a Rokkanean view of cultural and economic cleavages as the main dimensions structuring Western European political spaces. The author then identifies two main rounds of political mobilization that have manifested both in the electoral and in the protest arena since the 1970s: the left-libertarian round of the 1970s and early 1980s, and the populist right round that characterized the European political space since the 1990s. The latter and the main political issues associated with it – immigration, Europe, and global justice – as well as their manifestation in the protest arena represents the main focus of the book."
"Swen Hutter’s Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe is refreshing on these counts. Investigating both protest dynamics and electoral politics in six countries—Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland—from 1975-2005, Hutter’s book returns to the question of cleavage dynamics to examine how the European political space has shifted over the course of a generation. Animating the book’s investigations is the question of how the politics of these six countries have moved from the left-libertarian politics of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the greater emphasis on right-populist politics today. The book creatively combines a variety of methods: newspaper-based protest event analysis, content analysis of political party platforms, and broader meta-analyses using comparative indicators of the state strength and democratic participation." (Mobilization)
"Swen Hutter has written an excellent book about protests and political cleavages in Western Europe, focusing primarily on protest events and political process in six countries (Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Switzerland) from the 1970s to 2005." (Czech Sociological Review)
In this far-reaching work, Swen Hutter demonstrates the usefulness of studying both electoral politics and protest politics to better understand the impacts of globalization. Hutter integrates research on cleavage politics and populist parties in Western Europe with research on social movements. He shows how major new cleavages restructured protest politics over a thirty-year period, from the 1970s through the 1990s. This major study brings back the concept of cleavages to social movement studies and connects the field with contemporary research on populism, electoral behavior, and party politics.
Hutter’s work extends the landmark 1995 New Social Movements in Western Europe, the book that spurred the recognition that a broad empirical frame is valuable for understanding powerful social movements. This new book shows that it is also beneficial to include the study of political parties and protest politics. While making extensive use of public opinion, protest event, and election campaigning data, Hutter skillfully employs contemporary data from six West European societies—Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland—to account for responses to protest events and political issues across countries.
Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe makes productive empirical, methodological, and theoretical contributions to the study of social movements and comparative politics. Empirically, it employs a new approach, along with new data, to explain changes in European politics over several decades. Methodologically, it makes rigorous yet creative use of diverse datasets in innovative ways, particularly across national borders. And theoretically, it makes a strong claim for considering the distinctive politics of protest across various issue domains as it investigates the asymmetrical politics of protest from left and right.
Taking us on a fascinating journey through more than thirty years of social movement mobilization, Protesting Culture and Economics in Western Europe offers the first systematic attempt to link the study of the movements of the left and right in Europe since the 1970s with party system dynamics. Building on a unique set of data that allows for the comparison of different issues across the electoral and protest arenas, this study not only contributes to our understanding of ‘who is organized into politics by whom,’ it also provides some definite answers to controversial questions surrounding social movements in the ‘age of globalization,’ and shows how much we gain by focusing on the interplay between electoral and protest politics.
Simon Bornschier, University of Zurich
This is very relevant work that addresses a broad array of issues in social movement studies. The data are impressive and innovative, comparative across six countries and several decades, and Swen Hutter’s analyses are strong, original, and straightforward.
Stefaan Walgrave, University of Antwerp