Chapter

Continuities, Changes, and the Vulnerability of Party

Peter Mair

in Party System Change

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198295495
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599804 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198295499.003.0002
 Continuities, Changes, and the Vulnerability of Party

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This is the first of three chapters on persistence and change in political parties. Its theme is continuities, changes, and the vulnerability of the party in western Europe, and the aim is to emphasize the link between party organization or styles of organizational intervention and electoral (de)stabilization. The discussion is presented in seven sections: (1) What Parties Are and What Parties Do –– respectively, their historic political identity and their contemporary appeals, with the latter often bearing little relation to historic identities; (2) Left, Right, and Policy Competition; (3) Left, Right, and Voter Alignments; (4) A Crisis of Party? (5) Catch-All Politics and Party Vulnerability; (6) Organizational Change and Electoral Change; and (7) Organizational Change: A Research Agenda.

Keywords: change; electoral (de)stabilization; electoral change; historic party political identities; instability; left–right policy competition; organizational change; organizational intervention; party organization; party vulnerability; persistence; policy competition; political parties; stability; voter alignment; western Europe; western party systems

Chapter.  9815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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