New publication by Martin Fritz & Dennis Eversberg “Mentalities, classes and the four lines of conflict in the social-ecological transformation.” in European Political Science

Fritz, Martin / Eversberg, Dennis (2023): Mentalities, classes and the four lines of conflict in the social-ecological transformation, In: European Political Science.


In this article, we argue that current societal struggles about whether and how eco-social policy and politics should be implemented to tackle the interlinked challenges of climate change and inequality are an expression of the main societal conflict of our times: the social-ecological transformation conflict. We identify four lines of conflict in the social-ecological transformation and explore how they are related to classes and mentalities. In the theoretical part, we conceptualize classes in social space and mentalities through a Bourdieusian relational approach. We also discuss the location of the four lines of conflict in social space. In the empirical part, we analyze survey data from Germany. Firstly, we find eight mentalities among respondents reflecting their views on various eco-social topics. Secondly, we construct the social space with socio-economic variables for the economic and cultural capital of the respondents. Thirdly, we plot the mentalities in the social space. The results show that the cultural middle class is in favor of eco-social policy, while the upper class and the economic middle class prefer green growth and ecological modernization. The lower-class fractions are skeptical of any transformation because they distrust institutions and cannot bear the transformation costs.