1st Edition

The Great Class Shift How New Social Class Structures are Redefining Western Politics

By Thibault Muzergues Copyright 2020
    160 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    160 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This thought-provoking book offers a new global approach to understand how four social class structures have rocked our political systems, to the extent that no politician or political party can exist today without claiming to be speaking on their behalf, and no politician can hope to win an electoral majority without building a coalition among these classes.

    Based on a four-fold analysis - Urban and Liberal Creatives, Suburban Middle Class, White Working Class and the Millennials - this book shows that while many have focused on a supply-side vision of politics to explain the upheavals in our political party systems, a vision centred on demand – and the Weberian take on political parties as vehicles for class interests – is more compelling. In 2016, our political world was changed forever by the victories of Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in the USA. Far from being confined to the Anglosphere however, changes have also rocked the political landscapes in Europe. As the crisis of 2008 has shaken the foundations of Western societies, shrinking the size of the previously all-powerful middle class, new classes have emerged, and with them a new political demand that new (or old) parties have tried to satisfy.

    This book will be of key interest to political practitioners (politicians, advisors/consultants, journalists, political pundits, party builders, and government officials) and more broadly to academics, students and readers of European and Western politics, political sociology, party politics and political parties, and electoral demographics.

    Foreword by Guy Verhofstadt


    Part I: Class Shifting: How Four Social Classes came to Redefine our Electoral Landscapes

    1. In the Beginning Was the Creative Class

    2. The Suburban (and Provincial) Middle Class: A pro-system rebellion

    3. The New Minority, or the Revolt of the White Working-class

    4. The Millennials, or the Left’s New Rebels 

    Part II: Falling Apart or Coming Together? Coalition Dilemmas for Election Victory in a Four-class System

    5. France and the United States: From new fault lines to new coalitions

    6. North-Western Europe: Divergent scenarios in the economic heart of Europe

    7. Central and Eastern Europe: Power to the (white) working class

    8. Southern Europe: The Heart of the Millennial Challenge



    Thibault Muzergues is Europe Program Director at the International Republican Institute’s Europe Regional Office, Austria.

    "Thibault Muzergues is an insightful observer of people and politics in the transatlantic space. Fluent in American and European trends, he examines the four warring sub-cultures—each pursuing their own righteous revolution—that are pulling our societies apart."

    Justin Gest, George Mason University, USA, Author of The New Minority

    "If you want to understand the new social classes dominating today’s heated political debate, look no further than this excellent analysis by Thibault Muzergues. By uncovering the structural fault lines underlying the political earthquakes since 2008, he provides the reader with a detailed map not only to the recent past, but also to navigate our political future."

    Josef Lentsch, Managing Partner of the Innovation in Politics Institute, Germany, Author of Political Entrepreneurship

    "Western societies have changed profoundly over the past quarter century. But the social sciences have not revised their categories of analysis. This is precisely the great interest of Thibault Muzergues' book. It invites us to rethink social stratification to better understand democratic politics in the 21st century."

    Dominique Reynié, Sciences Po Paris, France

    "Thibault Muzergues has penetrated beneath the surface of western societies to outline the new cleavages that are neither just socio-economic nor just socio-cultural but a complex mixture of the two. It is an important book, written with clarity and insight and with an impressive inside knowledge spanning much of the modern west."

    David Goodhart, Head of Democgraphy, Immigration & Integration at the Policy Institute, UK, Author of The Road to Somewhere