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Out now: A New Social Conflict on Globalisation-related Issues in Germany? A Longitudinal Perspective

Teney, C. & Rupieper, L. K. (2023)

News from May 12, 2023

in: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie | open access


We draw on cleavage theory to assess the emergence of a social conflict concerning globalisation-related issues among the German population between 1989 and 2019. We argue that issue salience and opinion polarisation are key conditions for a successful and sustainable political mobilisation of citizens and thus for the emergence of a social conflict. In line with globalisation cleavage theory, we hypothesised that issue salience as well as overall and between-group opinion polarisation on globalisation-related issues have increased over time. Our study considers four globalisation-related issues: immigration, the European Union (EU), economic liberalism, and the environment. While the salience of the EU and economic liberalism issues remained low during the observed period, we found a recent increase in salience for the issues of immigration (since 2015) and the environment (since 2018). Furthermore, our results point to rather stable attitudes on globalisation-related issues among the German population: We did not find any consistent evidence of an increase in overall or between-group polarisation over time. In conclusion, the idea of an emerging conflict around globalisation-related issues among the German population finds very little empirical support.

FU press release about the article (in German).

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