Cross-cutting cleavages


  1. What do you think cross-cutting cleavages (CCC) means?

  2. Use cross-cutting cleavages in a sentence.

  3. Think of an example of cross-cutting cleavages in current events:

  4. Find an image of cross-cutting cleavages: On second thought, don't find an image of cross-cutting cleavages. Too risky.

Fun Fact


Cross-cutting cleavages: Political cleavages are national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious divisions that affect political allegiances and policies. Cleavages can be reinforcing (cumulative) or cross-cutting. For example, if a nation was divided by cross-cutting cleavages then some people of a certain ethnic group might be rich while other people of the same ethnic group might be poor. In a nation divided by reinforcing cleavages, all people of one ethnic group would be rich and all people of another ethnic group would be poor. Cross-cutting cleavages were originally suggested as a mechanism for political stability, as no group can align all its members along a uniform cleavage-based platform, but rather has to appeal to members of the group that are spread throughout the groups created by other cleavages.


In the US, we are divided by cross-cutting cleavages. Most Americans have some point of overlap regarding race, religion, socio-economic status, and gender. In Northern Ireland, there is really just one big reinforcing cleavage; religion. It doesn't matter if you are rich are poor, the big divide in all political matters is based upon whether you are Protestant and Catholic.


Female scholars react to Hillary Clinton's historic nomination



  1. What is the main difference between cross-cutting and reinforcing cleavages?

  2. Is the US more divided by cross-cutting or reinforcing cleavages?

  3. is cross-cutting or reinforcing cleavages worse for the stability of a nation?

  4. Did the 2016 election change your opinion about cleavages in the US political system?