Cover: Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities: A Study of Fifty Democracies, 1948–2020, from Harvard University PressCover: Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities in HARDCOVER

Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities

A Study of Fifty Democracies, 1948–2020

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674248427

Publication Date: 11/16/2021

Academic Trade

640 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

250 illus., 28 tables


This book is a breakthrough in the existing literature on the politics of social inequality. Not merely is the analysis intensively data-based, it goes beyond the usual confines of a small number of western democracies to a set of fifty democracies (or semi-democracies) in different continents over many decades. This approach highlights complexities in the varying alignments of political cleavages and electoral behavior with socioeconomic inequalities and ethnoreligious group formations in different parts of the world in a comparative-historical perspective. The analysis throughout is highly sensible, informative, and insightful.—Pranab Bardhan, University of California, Berkeley

This monumental book presents the first international and historical analysis of political cleavages and of their interplay with inequality. This is a must-read book for anyone wanting to understand electoral politics in today’s democracies—the rise of ‘identity politics’ in some countries but not others, and the multiplicity of possible futures for the dynamic of inequality.—Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley

This impressive book will rapidly become the central reference point for systematically charting trends in voting alignment across the globe. By including nations from the global South alongside established liberal democracies, Gethin and his colleagues challenge endemic Western biases in political research and reveal the systematic ways that inequality and credentialism have redrawn voting patterns over recent decades. Deploying all the precision of expert economists, Gethin and his coauthors offer exactly the kind of big picture perspective which political activists and campaigners, as much as academic social scientists of all hues, will hugely appreciate.—Mike Savage, author of The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of the Past

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Jacket: Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America, by Nathaniel Frank, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Pride Month

To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. Nathaniel Frank’s Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America tells the dramatic story of the struggle for same-sex couples to legally marry, something that is now taken for granted. Below, he describes the beginnings of the gay rights movement. For homophiles of the 1950s, identifying as gay was almost always a risky and radical act