New Social Movements Supporters: A Southern Europe Analysis
Belchior, Ana Maria
CIES CIES-ISCTE - Centre of Sociological Studies and Research of the Higher Institute of Social Sciences and Business Studies, Lisbon Lisbon, Portugal
Theories of cultural modernization show that, in modern democracies, new political movements and parties generated around a multiplicity of social objectives have start to conquer the political arena. These movements and parties answer to new political issues, basically of a post-materialist nature, to which traditional parties have difficulty reacting (Kitschelt 1990; Dalton et al. 1990: 10-16; Müller-Rommel 2002). Essentially mobilized by the ideal of a pluralist, participative, libertarian and even anti-capitalist democracy, they are concerned about ecological, feminist, and peace matters and collective political issues. They are also regarded as exhibiting a higher defence of democratic values and rules (cf. e.g. Kitschelt 1990: 185, 195; Dalton et al. 1990: 13-14; Doherty 2002: 72-73).
This paper is focused in the party preferences, ideological orientations and post-materialist positions of the supporters of new social movements in the Southern European countries.
Although showing an undersized number of active supporters, new social movements´ political importance can sometimes show quite strong importance in some political decisions. The main purpose is, therefore, to descriptively analyse what are the more significant characteristics of their supporters particularly from a party, ideological and materialist post-materialist perspective. Is voting behaviour of new movement supporters´ more supported on the traditional ideological dimension, or new explanations have to be considered, namely the ones related to the post-materialism dimension,
Similar studies have been carried out (see Müller-Rommel, 1985). The purpose of this paper is to reply the general idea underlying those studies considering a set of countries that were never studied in this perspective.