This paper interrogates the stability of relative geographical patterns of electoral results in Europe since World War II in a context of the dramatic socio‐economic changes and the deep transformations of the European geography. To do so, we propose a theoretical model in which regional political orientations along the Left vs. Right cleavage dates back to the end of the nineteenth century or even before, related to the land tenure, the familial structure, the time of the industrial take off or the impact of religion. Specifically, we show that the current electoral map is still partly related to such old structures, long after they vanish. To explain this hysteresis, we refer to the role of social networks and institutions embedded in places, allowing the transmission of electoral behaviour from one generation to the other. However, the West European electoral map has not been frozen, and, in the last part of the paper, we explain how major political and socio‐economic changes alter political behaviour of places.
Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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