Class voting and class consciousness in Canada



    1. Carleton University
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    • *This is a revised version of a paper presented at the Learned Societies in Winnipeg, 1986. The author would like to thank Jane Jenson, Lawrence LeDuc, John Myles, and Paul Nesbitt-Larking for helpful comments on an earlier draft.


Plusieurs hypotheses existent, qui tentent d'expliquer la faiblesse du vote de classe au Canada. Je tente ici de reformuler certaines de ces hypothPses, i partir de leurs postulats i1'6gard de la conscience de classe et de la formation de classe. Deux types d'explications sont identifies: celles, d'abord, qui soutiennent que le bas niveau de conscience de classe au Canada est la cause de I'absence de formation de classe; et celles pour qui l'inverse est vrai. Toutes les hypotheses considerees trouvent des donnees qui les supportent dans la ricente Etude electorale nationale. I1 est actuellement impossible de choisir entre elles, alors que les donnees disponibles ont une valeur limitee et que des problemes de niveaux d'analyse restent i resoudre. On devrait considerer les deux modes d'explication comme interactifs, et aussi vraisemblables l'un que l'autre.

Many hypotheses have been advanced to explain the low levels of class voting in Canada. This article reformulates a number of these in terms of their assumptions about class consciousness and class formation. Explanations are divided into those which hold the society's low level of class consciousness responsible for the lack of class formation, and those which propose the reverse. Evidence from recent National Elections Study data contains support for all of the hypotheses, and it is concluded that choosing between them is currently impossible because of data limitations and level-of-analysis problems. The two lines of argument should be regarded as interactive and equally plausible.