West European Politics vol:29 issue:5 pages:912-932
The emergence of two separate political systems in Belgium is the logical consequence of a gradual cultural and social divergence between Flanders and Wallonia. It is particularly in Flanders that Belgian nationhood is being put under pressure by a subnational identity. At the same time, there are still widespread emotional ties to Belgium, albeit stronger in Wallonia than in Flanders, that act as an important counterbalance to both the social and institutional centrifugal forces. Church involvement was traditionally higher in Flanders, but the stronger decline in the latter region has levelled off this difference. In both regions, the impact of pillarisation on voting behaviour is diminishing. As concerns the attitude towards foreigners, Flemings are more concerned about maintaining their own culture, while the Walloons are more concerned about the alleged economic and social threat. Other differences with regard to values exist, but are relatively small from a comparative perspective.