The Problem of Party System Change

Peter Mair

in Party System Change

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198295495
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599804 | DOI:
 The Problem of Party System Change

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This is the second of three chapters on persistence and change in political parties. Its theme is the problem of party system change in western Europe, and its purpose, rather than to propose some rigorous definition of it, is simply to identify some of the problems involved in the understanding of party system change, and, through this approach, to place some key questions on the agenda for future debate and future research. The discussion is presented in six sections: (1) Party Change versus Party System Change; (2) Party System Change; (3) Electoral Volatility and Cleavage Change –– a discussion of the role of ‘social’ cleavage change (resulting from changes in the cleavage structure or social make-up of support to individual parties) in electoral change and party system change in the context of Lipset–Rokkan ‘law’ on ‘the freezing of party systems’; (4) How Much Electoral Change?; (5) The Electoral Bias; and (6) Key Problems.

Keywords: change; cleavage change; cleavage structure; electoral bias; electoral change; electoral change; electoral volatility; freezing of party systems; party change; party system change; political parties; social cleavage change; western Europe; western party systems

Chapter.  12003 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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