A life course approach to political preference formation across social classes

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 971 5609 9278 Passcode: 324627

While social class has received renewed attention as a driver of political conflict in Western democracies, we know little about when these class differences emerge. We apply a life-course approach to identify how social classes differ in their political preferences at different life stages (as a consequence of family origin, during early adulthood, and on the job). These distinctions allow us to adjudicate the stage(s) at which class conflict becomes more marked and consolidated. Are class differences a direct consequence of economic prospects and daily experiences on the job, or are they the driven by a sorting process responding to earlier formative experiences? Our longitudinal analyses using British and Swiss panel data indicate that differences by (future) class are apparent early in life, but that they consolidate during employment. This research advances current and historical debates about social class as a relevant milieu of political socialization and public opinion formation.