Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability: The Stabilisation of European Electorates 1885-1985 (ECPR Classics)

Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability: The Stabilisation of European Electorates 1885-1985 (ECPR Classics)

By: Peter Mair (author), Stefano Bartolini (author)Paperback

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The question of whether Western party systems were becoming more unstable and electorates more volatile had already become central to the study of modern European by the end of the 1970s. Much of the literature at the time stressed how Western Europe was experiencing a phase of party breakdown, dealignment and decay, and how traditional mass politics was in the process of transformation. In this first book-length analysis of the subject, Stefano Bartolini and Peter Mair convincingly demonstrated how this emphasis on change had been largely misconceived and misplaced. This was the first systematic and conceptually sophisticated work to bring together the study of electoral change and cleavage persistence, and has since become one of the landmark volumes in the study of electoral politics in Europe. The authors examine patterns of electoral persistence and change in Western Europe between 1885 and 1985. They assess both what these patterns indicate with regard to the persistence of traditional cleavages, particularly the class cleavage, and how these patterns vary according to political, institutional and social factors.They analyse the various patterns of competition which have characterised elections across the different European countries and in different historical periods, and how cleavages can persist and re-emerge even in the face of widespread social change. They develop a sophisticated model of aggregate electoral change, in which national electorates are conceived as being torn between the stability brought about by cultural identities and organisational structures and the stimuli for change that are provoked by party competition and institutional change.

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About Author

Stefano Bartolini is currently Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Adanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence. Peter Mair was Professor of Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence and at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He wass co-editor of the journal West European Politics.


New introduction by the authors 1 Preface and acknowledgments 7 Introduction 11 PART ONE FRAMEWORK 25 Chapter one: Understanding electoral instability 27 The measures 28 Concepts and indices 31 Aggregate volatility as a system property 33 Aggregate volatility and individual voting shifts 34 Theoretical variants 40 A general framework for analysis 42 PART TWO THE STABILISATION OF EUROPEAN ELECTORATES 57 Chapter two: Interpreting electoral change: a debate 59 The evidence of aggregate data 62 Parties and cleavages 65 Chapter three: The bias towards stability 70 Variance in electoral instability 70 Variance in class-cleavage volatility 76 The relationship between cleavage volatility and total volatility 83 Types of elections and cleavages 85 Chapter four: Electoral instability and class-cleavage persistence 1885 - 1985 96 Testing the freezing hypothesis 96 The salience of the class cleavage 103 A general stabilisation? 105 National variations 106 Trends over time: a summary 117 PART THREE THE DETERMINANTS OF ELECTORAL INSTABILITY 123 Introduction 125 Chapter five: The fragmentation of party systems 127 Which parties count? 128 Trends in fragmentation 129 Numbers of parties and electoral volatility 131 National variations 134 Chapter six: Institutional constraints and voter opportunities 141 The impact of enfranchisement 142 Voting systems and electoral instability 145 Change of electoral systems 146 Majoritarianism versus proportionality 149 From dichotomised to continuous variables 152 Indicators of disproportionality 154 Disproportionality and volatility 155 Cross-national variation 158 Institutional constraints and electoral instability 160 Chapter seven: Electoral participation 165 When turnout matters 166 Turnout increase 167 Turnout decline 168 Variation between countries 172 Electoral participation and volatility 175 Format, institutional change, and participation 176 Chapter eight: The space of competition 182 The extent of electoral elasticity 182 Spatial competition and electoral instability 184 An interpretation of negative findings 189 Another test of the spatial hypothesis 191 National variations 193 Space and segmentation 196 Chapter nine: Cleavage systems 198 The concept of cleavage 199 Social homogeneity versus closure of mobility 205 Empirical evidence 209 The dimension of cultural heterogeneity 210 The organisational dimension 214 Cultural heterogeneity and organisational density 220 Segmentation and electoral instability 223 PART FOUR COMPETITION AND IDENTITY 231 Chapter ten: Explaining electoral instability 233 The overall pattern 234 Electoral phases 240 Cross-national variation 244 Refining the model: spatial, organisational, and cultural factors 248 A parsimonious model 255 Chapter eleven: Socio-organisational bonds, institutional incentives, and political markets 261 The stabilisation of voting patterns 262 From competition to identity 263 The forces shaping electoral mobility 266 Some applications: polarised pluralism and consociational democracy 271 Towards destabilisation? 274 Appendices and data-base 1 Rules for calculation and notes on sources 281 2 Party volatilities: data-base 291 Index 319

Product Details

  • publication date: 01/09/2007
  • ISBN13: 9780955248832
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 346
  • ID: 9780955248832
  • weight: 486
  • ISBN10: 0955248833

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