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Party Realignment in Western Europe

Electoral Drivers and Global Constraints

9781800884724 Edward Elgar Publishing
Magnus Hagevi, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Linnaeus University, Sofie Blombäck, Senior Lecturer of Political Science, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Marie Demker, Professor of Political Science and Dean of Faculty of Humanities, Jonas Hinnfors, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg and Karl Loxbo, Associate Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden
Publication Date: July 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80088 472 4 Extent: 288 pp
Identifying a crisis for representative democracy in Western European party systems, this essential book studies the widening gap between political parties’ ideological economic Left–Right rhetoric. Combining in-depth theoretical analysis with empirical research, it addresses whether political party ideologies are converging or diverging, and whether these changes are initiated by the parties themselves, aligned with voter demand, or forced by economic globalization.

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Identifying a crisis for representative democracy in Western European party systems, this essential book studies the widening gap between political parties’ ideological economic Left–Right rhetoric and their increasing convergence on policymaking. Addressing whether these ideologies are converging or diverging, it answers whether these changes are initiated by the parties themselves, aligned with voter demand, or forced by economic globalization.

The crisis of representative democracy in Western Europe is a prevalent issue in comparative politics. This comprehensive study assesses the problems faced by representative democracy by analysing ideological polarization and inter-party conflict in relation to the changing linkage between citizens, parties, and public policies, and the implications this has for representative democracy. Considering both supply-side and demand-side theories, it analyses five major theoretical themes central to the ideological convergence and polarization within party systems, including the cartel party thesis, the median voter theorem, realignment theory, consensus democracy theory, and globalization theory. Going beyond theory, chapters use five decades of empirical research to present new and unique longitudinal and comparative data sets covering eight party systems, ultimately providing a more accurate diagnosis of the vitality of representative democracy in contemporary Western Europe.

Combining in-depth theoretical analysis with empirical research, this comprehensive book will prove invaluable to students and scholars of politics and political science, and policymakers concerned with party systems.
Critical Acclaim
‘An innovative study of the changing forces reshaping party competition in Western Europe, the authors argue that electoral realignment, combined with globalization’s constraints on national politics, provide new challenges for political parties in representative democracies. The book will be essential reading for students of elections and political parties.’
– Pippa Norris, Harvard University, US
Contents
Contents: Preface 1. A crisis for representative democracy? An introduction 2. Selected countries and party systems: similarities and contrasts 3. Empirical approach to studying party system change: data and measurements 4. Ideological contestation in Western European party systems 5. Conflict levels in Western European party systems 6. Parties, voters, and representation 7. Public policies and globalization 8. Conclusions: polarizing party systems and converging policymaking References Index
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