MMM Workshop September 2023

Do we need more than one dimension to understand polarization?

Eckehard Olbrich
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig

14 Sep 2023, 09:45–10:10


It seems natural to think about about polarization along an one-dimensional spaces, i.e. along a single axes or between two groups, respectively. In my contribution I will discuss, why this might not be sufficient and how to work in higher dimensional spaces. In particular, I will discuss this problem in the context of cleavage theory and the hypothesis that the populist right parties that appeared in Europe in the last decades are part of a new cleavage. As an example I will discuss data from Swiss public votes between 1981 and 2018.

Relevant publications

Olbrich, Eckehard, and Sven Banisch. “The rise of populism and the reconfiguration of the German political space.” Frontiers in big Data 4 (2021): 731349

Gaisbauer F, Pournaki A, Banisch S, Olbrich E (2021) Ideological differences in engagement in public debate on Twitter. PLOS ONE 16(3): e0249241