Political cleavages are national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious divisions that affect political allegiances and policies. Cleavages can be cumulative or cross-cut. Cumulative cleavages pit the same groups of people against one another on many issues, such as religion and class in Northern Ireland. Catholics tend to be poorer, while Protestants tend to be wealthier. Cross-cut cleavages feature groups sharing common interests on some issues, but opposing one another on others.
- Almond, Gabriel A. Comparative Politics Today: A World View. New York: Pearson, 2004.