Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Religious Cleavages and the Class Compromise in Western Democracies

Prof. Dr. Philip Manow, Holger Döring


The central research question of this project is the following: How have social cleavages other than the capital/ labour cleavage, in particular the state/ church cleavage and its manifestation in parties of religious defence, contributed to the emergence of different political economies in Western Europe? The main focus of research lies on the different European welfare regimes and on different types of educational systems. We start from the observation that a virulent state/ church conflict led to the emergence of ‘parties of religious defence’ (Stein Rokkan) in most countries of the European continent in the last quarter of the 19th or the first quarter of the 20th century (exceptions: France, Spain, Portugal). The absence of vehement state/ church conflicts in the homogeneously Protestant countries of Scandinavia, in which Lutheran state churches felt not existentially threatened by an expanding nation state which took over responsibilities of the church in social protection and schooling, explains the absence of parties of religious defence in the Scandinavian party systems. The place that religious parties occupied in the continental party systems was filled by agrarian parties, product of the urban/ rural cleavage, in the Nordic party systems. On the continent, however, these parties of religious defence, i.e. Christian Democratic parties, who have since long been shown to have been exceptionally influential in the build-up of national systems of social protection and education, mobilized mainly on religious grounds, that is across the class-divide. This is why these parties had to find internal compromise formulas for the dominant cleavage in all advanced industrial nations, the labor/ capital or basic socio-economic left/ right cleavage. The project therefore investigates into the mitigating effects of the religious cleavage on the dominant socio-economic cleavage in the European nation states and the consequences for the political economies of these countries. The project focuses on the welfare state, on education systems, on patterns of structural change in European economies and basic socio-economic features like female and service employment.

Selected Publications:

Kees van Kersbergen/ Philip Manow (Eds.), 2008: Religion, Class Coalitions and Welfare State Regimes. New York: Cambridge University Press (Series on ‘Social Theory, Religion and Politics’).

Philip Manow, 2004: 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly': Esping-Andersen's welfare state typology and the religious roots of the western welfare state. MPIfG working paper 04/3. Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne.