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Professor André Freire talks about his new book in an interview for the ELIVA Press website

In an interview for the ELIVA Press website, where he spoke to the “author interview” section, Professor André Freire (ODRP coordinator) revealed a little about the process of creating his new book, “Left and Right: Meaning and Correlates in New and Long Consolidated Democracies”, and pointed out the main conclusions that can be drawn from this publication.

“This set of 12 chapters (plus an introduction, this one originally written), resulting from about 20 years of comparative research on the topic of the ideological division between the left and the right at the level of voters, parties and political representatives, and published over time in indexed journals (SCOPUS, Web of Science, etc.), is much more than the sum of these parts. In addition to having to personally select relevant pieces of my work of about 20 years on the subject and to organize them in a single, coherent and structured volume, the different pieces also had to be formally edited, something that was done either by my research fellow (Viriato Queiroga), or by Eliva Press”, confided André Freire.

For the author, the inspiration for this book comes from the scientific interest and investigative curiosity that led him to numerous works, published in several indexed international journals (11) and in a chapter of a book by a prestigious publisher (Lexington Books), on the ideology left-right, both at the level of the masses, elites and parties, seeking to understand their meanings, correlates and explanatory factors.

The result of 10 to 12 months of editing work, the book is divided into four major topics, covering: the Left and the Right in consolidated democracies and in new democracies (5 chapters); the meanings and social, evaluative and political correlates of the Left and Right division (3 chapters); Left and Right in Portugal, voters and parties (2 chapters); and the Portuguese case study on Left and Right between citizens and representatives (2 chapters).

The publication is based on the selection of 11 articles published in academic journals “Party Politics”, “International Political Science Review”, “Pôle Sud – Revue de Science Politique de l’Europe Méridionale”, “Brazilian Political Science Review”, “Journal of Political Ideologies”, “Comparative European Politics”, “Communist and Post-Communist Studies”, “Journal of Legislative Studies” and a chapter of the book “Political Representation and Citizenship in Portugal: from Crisis to Renewal”, in Lexington Books, in addition to an additional introductory chapter, which allows the reader to have an overview of the volume and its novelty in relation to the existing literature on the subject.

Main conclusions that can be drawn from this publication:

As Freire reports, there are six major conclusions in this book: a recognition and heuristic use of the left-right division by citizens in various regions and democratic countries of the world, especially in democracies that are more consolidated and/or more ideologically polarized (that is, with greater differentiation between left and right at the level of party supply); over time, new democracies tend to converge with consolidated democracies in terms of the recognition, at the mass level, of the heuristic use of this division; the different authoritarian legacies and different types of party alliances at crucial moments of democratic transitions impact the way ordinary citizens utilize the left-right divide; the left-right division has different meanings in different historical and political contexts; both elites and masses recognize and heuristically use the left-right division, even though the former have more structured conceptions than the latter.

Finally, Professor André Freire points out that the most surprising of the findings was “the widespread recognition and heuristic use of the left-right division among the masses in various regions of the world, albeit at varying levels and with different and related meanings. Second, the flexibility of the left-right divide, accommodating diverse meanings correlated according to different historical, social and political contexts, across time and space, the latter trait being an important reason for longevity (of the left-right divide) , since the French Revolution, in Europe and elsewhere in the world”.

See the full interview at https://www.elivapress.com/en/news/news-8885034827/