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Social Cleavage, Political Division and Local Political Leadership Recruitment

Gila Menahem

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1993, vol. 5, issue 3, 375-395

Abstract: Two major approaches to political leadership recruitment - one concentrating on the role of structural political variables and features of the incumbent elite and the other on the socioeconomic attributes of contenders and aspirants - are confronted. It is proposed that the core of the dispute between the two approaches lies in differing conceptions regarding the nature of the link between social and political divisions; the nature of this relationship is explored. Using Janda's (1980) measures for the social composition of party support, three modes of the relationship between social and political divisions are discerned and defined as non-structural, uni-structural and bi- or multi-structural parties. Each type is examined for its implications on the processes of local political leadership recruitment. The findings lend support to the two major hypotheses: (a) when political divisions are not based on social divisions, political variables are more useful in explaining political leadership recruitment; and (b) when political divisions are based on social divisions, socioeconomic variables explain more variance in leadership recruitment.

Keywords: leadership recruitment; local political leadership; political division; social cleavage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1993
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