The argument that Western democracy is being hollowed out, as political participation declines and party allegiance weakens, is now widely cited. Yet the indicators can be uncertain and until now there hasn't been a comprehensive comparative study. "Ruling the Void" analyzes democratic trends over the last few decades, in Europe and America, and argues that there are two complementary processes at work. Popular disengagement, and the withdrawal of political elites from a representative role, are both contributing to the death of the political party - and with it the characteristic form of Western democracy. This landmark study will become a reference point for anyone interested in the future of representative democracy.
PETER MAIR is a leading authority in the study of parties and party systems. Professor of Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence and at the University of Leiden, he is also co-editor of West European Politics, and has published widely on parties, elections and political institutions.