The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)


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Edited by Jens Rydgren

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My profile My library Metrics Alerts. Sign in. Get my own profile Cited by View all All Since Citations h-index 19 14 iindex 29 Joshua A. These gatherings brought together scholars with an interest in the interaction between political parties, socio-demographic characteristics and ideological orientations from many countries and many sub-disciplines. The empirical analyses in presented in this volume to not converge into a grand synthesis or a revolutionary new outlook but rather provide a consistent picture of incremental change and weak-but-persistent relationships.

The empirical contributions document an issue space in most Western European that continues to be structured around two axes, with an relatively clear economic dimension and a far more diffuse cultural dimension whose content and significance of the cultural dimension fluctuates considerably depending on the period and context. The first group of contributions, Stoll and Bornschier, measures structures related to competition among political parties, looking at the relative value orientations espoused by parties in their party programs and at media accounts across both space and time with multiple cases and multiple time periods.

A related contribution by Henjak, also looks at value orientations, but focuses at individual-level alignments between values and party vote in a large number of countries using public opinion survey data gathered during the early s.

The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe

Stoll and Bornschier ascribe an important role to parties in shaping the contours of the arena in which they compete; Henjak explores the interplay between deeper cultural and economic factors and the role of political leaders through the support for particular policies related to the welfare state that in turn shape the parameters of party competition. A second group of contributions add direct consideration of sociodemographic characteristics to the value and institutional variables. Both articles suggest that shifts in underlying sociodemographic characteristics, particularly increases in the share of the population with higher education, help to create new alignments, though both also suggest an important role for party responses to the demographic change.

The article by Knutsen uses a combination of election results and opinion surveys from the early s, to test the degree to which regional patterns of party voting depend on various types of sociodemographic variables and value orientations. He finds that regional differences are largely due to differences in class composition. He demonstrates that the influence of class, religion and left-right orientation is in decline, though the decline is not entirely secular.

They demonstrate that the voters who are attracted to parties because of party-specific social and attitudinal variables are more loyal and politically more active than other citizens.

Lenka Buštíková

We are grateful both to the senior scholars for their valuable comments and to the authors of the empirical articles for their readiness to expose themselves to the sharp and often polemic observations in the commentaries. Of attitudes about taxes or immigration or global warming? Or is it something else entirely? The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe takes a detailed look at the ways in which Western Europe's party systems are anchored in social and ideological structures.

The European Parliament explained

The book's first section focuses on the role of social structures - particularly education, class and religion - and analyzes the complex interplay among these factors. The second section addresses the ways that the sociological structures such as class and religion interact with voters' values. The third section examines the way that these structures and values shape the space of political competition among parties.

The conclusion integrates the findings of the empirical articles, putting them into broader comparative perspective, discussing whether relatively predictable structures have been overwhelmed by media-driven spectacles, political personalities and focus on short-term economic performance. This volume will appeal to scholars and graduate students in Europe and those from North America, Asia and other regions who study European politics, political parties, cleavages and political behaviour.

This book was published as a special issue of West European Politics. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Other books in this series.

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The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)
The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics) The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe (West European Politics)

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