My first ever academic publication (accepted while still a grad student) was on cognitive mobilization. I've also blogged about recent research on the topic. Now there's a review of the literature, which I'm happy to see. Like visiting an old friend, the idea of partisan dealignment in advanced democracies.
As the authors note:
The theory of a cognitively mobilized electorate argues that citizens are likely to abandon habitual voting for a single party as they become better informed about politics and gain exposure to mass media. The data examined in this paper, however, are not consistent with the theory's predictions.
As much as I like the concept, I'm not terribly surprised by the finding above. The thesis apparently unravels at individual level analysis, according to the authors. They present three questions cognitive mobilization advocates must answer in order to salvage the hypothesis.
Oh, and one major problem with this review -- it fails to cite my work in an obscure (but at the time to me, important) academic journal. Damn them!!!
Cite of my original paper: Hollander, B. A. (1993). Mass communication and cognitive mobilization: Changes in the U.S. from 1952-1984. Mass Comm Review, 19, 29-33, 48. Complete list of published stuff here if you're truly bored.