The Great Divide

Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Party Politics

Geoffrey Layman

Columbia University Press

The Great Divide

Google Preview

Pub Date: May 2001

ISBN: 9780231120593

464 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $38.00£30.00

Pub Date: May 2001

ISBN: 9780231120586

464 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $110.00£85.00

The Great Divide

Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Party Politics

Geoffrey Layman

Columbia University Press

How did the Christian Right come to predominate in the Republican Party? Why, on the other hand, do secular and religiously liberal beliefs largely prevail in the Democratic Party? Our understanding of the rift between the Democratic and Republican parties—a rift in many ways fueled by religious beliefs—requires an analysis of the entire spectrum of religious and nonreligious players in the American political process and how their influence has evolved over a long period of time.

Employing a sizeable collection of data on party members, activists, and elites, Geoffrey Layman examines the role of religion in the Democratic and Republican parties, and the ways in which religion has influenced the political process from the early 1960s through the late 1990s. Using a wide variety of sources, including the American National Election Studies—the major academic survey of the American electorate—Layman reveals a vast and subtly differentiated landscape of political life and a more vivid basis upon which to analyze the ever-widening chasm between the parties.

Layman investigates a broad spectrum of religious variety, citing differences between African American Protestants, white evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, nonreligious or seculars, and smaller religious groups, as well as political cleavages within these faith traditions. With his broad-based and thorough analysis, he counters the often narrow focus and incendiary rhetoric of many of the "culture war" debates.
Layman's impressive effort is at this point the authoritative source on religion and contemporary party politics.... An excellent account... which will be indispenable as religion continues to command the attention of political scientists. American Politics
Preface
Introduction: Cultural Conflict in American Society and Politics
1. Explaining Religious and Cultural Changes in the Party System
2. Conceptualizing Religion and Religion-Based Political Conflict
3. Religious and Cultural Change Among Party Activists
4. The Internal and External Divides: Religious and Cultural Conflict Within and Between the Parties
5. The Changing Religious Face of the Parties' Mass Coalitions
6. Links in the Chain: The Structure and Sequence of Partisan Religious and Cultural Change
7. Exploring the Divide: How and When Religion Matters for Contemporary Political Behavior
8. Religious Conflict and American Party Politics: The Nature, Implications, and Future of Their Relationship
Appendix A. Measurement
Appendix B. Statistical Analysis
Appendix C. Congressional Votes on Cultural Issues
Bibliography

About the Author

Geoffrey Layman is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He has published numerous articles on religion and American politics in such journals as Political Behavior, American Politics Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Politics, and Public Opinion Quarterly.