Friday 27 May 2016

New cleavages

In nine out of Austria's 10 main cities Mr Van der Bellen came top, whereas Mr Hofer dominated the rural areas, the Austrian broadcaster ORF reported.
Support for Mr Hofer was exceptionally strong among manual workers - nearly 90%. The vote for Mr Van der Bellen was much stronger among people with a university degree or other higher education qualifications.
Support for Mr Hofer among men was 60%, while among women it was 60% for Mr Van der Bellen. 
BBC News: Austria far right thwarted, Van der Bellen elected president, May 23, 2016
I've tried to write about this while it was happening but couldn't; it was the culmination of 1 1/2 years of watching Europe from a distance. The main thought that I have on this is that these new divisive lines apparently create entirely different realities for people, realities that conflict and create different interpretations and meanings. This applies to migration, the European Union, and is one of the reasons why appealing to "shared cultural/national values" only feeds into the divide rather than bridges it, as there is no common ground. 
Attitudes towards the European Union are a good example - for a lot of people, the main experience of the EU is travelling without having to exchange currencies and newspaper headlines, while for an entire generation of younger, highly educated people it means being able to study and work across borders and having a network of friends and acquaintances spread across the globe. These are clearly attributable advantages that create different realities. 

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