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Party system change : approaches and interpretations /
Peter Mair.
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.
description
xiv, 244 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
019829235X
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.
isbn
019829235X
catalogue key
1202344
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [225]-238) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-12:
Political parties and party systems are one of the most studied aspects of comparative politics. Although questions regarding the emergence and evolution of parties have long been important foci of concern, the new wave of democratization of the 1990s has added new vigor to a traditional subject area of political science. Mair (comparative politics, Leiden Univ., the Netherlands, and coeditor of the European Journal of Political Research) has contributed a fresh interpretation regarding the evidence of stability and change in modern party systems. Mair's emphasis is on the processes of adaptation and control. His approach addresses four important areas: the freezing of party systems; persistence and change; party organizations and party systems; and party systems and structure of competition. The last section includes a brief review essay on the classification of party systems. Each of the aforementioned major areas is broken down into two or three chapters for further elaboration and discussion. For evidence, Mair examines Western party systems and the problems associated with the consolidation of the new party systems in postcommunist Europe. Most of the material has already been published in various forms in journals or edited collections. Numerous figures and tables based on European data are presented. An extensive bibliography of primarily English language sources is included. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections. V. McHale; Case Western Reserve University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"...a fresh interpretation..."--Choice
"...a fresh interpretation..."-- Choice
By bringing together a wealth of theoretical and empirical material Mair skilfully traces a line of argument based on the notion of change rather than decline. Throughout the book Mair unremittingly puts his finger on major sources of confusion. This book constantly challenges the reader byposing many stimulating questions and suggesting possible lines of future debate and research. - Rosa Mule. Government and Opposition. 1998.
Mair's insightful approaches invite more research on party system change, especially research that is systematic and empirical. - Sadafumi Kawato. Journal of Politics. 1998.
Party specialists will be glad to have between one set of covers what is essentially a distillation of Mair's thinking over the past decade...this collection of articles and chapters does contain a hig degree of consistency. There is much shrewd observation and analysis in this book...a bookthat is stimulating for any party specialist and will inspire further research into the complex questions mapped out so clearly by the author. - David Hanley.
'Peter Mair has produced a book that represents political science at its most erudite ... It is a learned work based on wide reading. It is brimming with references to the contributions of other scholars.'Times Higher Education Supplement
the strength of the book is primarily the quality of hte individual chapters. - Lars Svasand. Political Studies. 1998.
...useful both for teaching and reasearch. Explicitly and consistently comparative, the volume engages the reader in interesting discussions. This book constantly challenges the reader. Rosa Mule. Government and Opposition. 1998
'Peter Mair has produced a book that represents political science at its most erudite ... It is a learned work based on wide reading. It is brimming with references to the contributions of other scholars.'Times Higher Education SupplementParty specialists will be glad to have between one set of covers what is essentially a distillation of Mair's thinking over the past decade...this collection of articles and chapters does contain a hig degree of consistency. There is much shrewd observation and analysis in this book...a book that is stimulating for any party specialist and will inspire further research into the complex questions mapped out so clearly by the author. - David Hanley.By bringing together a wealth of theoretical and empirical material Mair skilfully traces a line of argument based on the notion of change rather than decline. Throughout the book Mair unremittingly puts his finger on major sources of confusion. This book constantly challenges the reader by posing many stimulating questions and suggesting possible lines of future debate and research. - Rosa Mule. Government and Opposition. 1998....useful both for teaching and reasearch. Explicitly and consistently comparative, the volume engages the reader in interesting discussions. This book constantly challenges the reader. Rosa Mule. Government and Opposition. 1998Mair's insightful approaches invite more research on party system change, especially research that is systematic and empirical. - Sadafumi Kawato. Journal of Politics. 1998.the strength of the book is primarily the quality of hte individual chapters. - Lars Svasand. Political Studies. 1998.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1997
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Mair examines how we interpret the evidence of change and stability in modern parties and party systems. Focusing on processes of political adaptation and control, he also looks at how parties generate or freeze their own momentum.
Long Description
This is the first full-length book to examine how we interpret evidence of change and stability in modern parties and party systems. Focusing primarily on processes of political adaptation and control, it also concerns how parties and party systems generate their own momentum and "freeze" themselves into place. Amid the widespread contemporary discussions of the challenge to modern democracy and the crisis of traditional forms of political representation, if offers a welcome emphasis on how party systems survive, and on how change, when it does occur, may be analyzed and understood.
Long Description
This unique and important new book looks at how we interpret the evidence of change and stability in modern parties and party systems. Focusing primarily on processes of political adaptation and control, it also concerns how parties and party systems generate their own momentum and 'freeze' themselves into place. Amidst the widespread contemporary discussion of the challenge to modern democracy and the crisis of traditional forms of political representation, it offers a welcome emphasis on how party systems survive, and on how change, when it does occur, may be analysed and understood. The first part of the book deals with questions of persistence and change, and with the vulnerability and endurance of traditional parties. In the second part, attention shifts to the question of party organization, and to the ways in which the established parties are increasingly coming to invade the state, finding there a new source of privilege and a new means of ensuring their own survival. The third part of the book focuses on structures of competition in Western party systems, as well as on the problems associated with the consolidation of the new party systems in post-communist Europe. This is the first book to be entirely devoted to the question of party and party system change, and offers and essential guide to the understanding of this crucial theme. 'Peter Mair has produced a book that represents political science at its most erudite . . . It is a learned work based on wide reading. It is brimming with references to the contributions of other scholars.' Times Higher Education Supplement 'Building on several previously published essays of his, Mair has produced a precious little book. I particularly admire his ability to construct his argument with reference to the existing theories and to buttress it resorting to the available data. Moreover, he cleverly suggests different lines of interpretation and areas where new research is needed....there is a lot to be learned and to be utilised in Mair's analysis. The book is to be commended both for what it says and for what it suggests'. Gianfranco Pasquino, West European Politics 'With this volume Peter Mair brings together nearly a decade's worth of his work on European political parties. All but two chapters have been previously published, but in such a range of locations that the breadth and depth of his scholarship will likely have been underappreciated by all but the most dedicated students of European political parties. . . . The book has many strengths. It offers an important counterpoint to a literature that has become perhaps too focused on survey research and the behaviour of voters. The distinctions made between party system, party as organization and party in the electorate, while not completely novel, have been used with good effect to clarify the analysis of electoral change. Mair has drawn our attention, once again, to the intriguing notion of party autonomy vis-(-vis the state and civil society. The book is exceptionally clearly written and displays the author's encyclopedic knowledge of European political parties. Donald E. Blake, Canadian Journal of Political Science
Main Description
This unique and important new book looks at how we interpret the evidence of change and stability in modern parties and party systems. Focusing primarily on processes of political adaptation and control, it also concerns how parties and party systems generate their own momentum and 'freeze'themselves into place. Amidst the widespread contemporary discussion of the challenge to modern democracy and the crisis of traditional forms of political representation, it offers a welcome emphasis on how party systems survive, and on how change, when it does occur, may be analysed andunderstood. The first part of the book deals with questions of persistence and change, and with the vulnerability and endurance of traditional parties. In the second part, attention shifts to the question of party organization, and to the ways in which the established parties are increasingly coming toinvade the state, finding there a new source of privilege and a new means of ensuring their own survival. The third part of the book focuses on structures of competition in Western party systems, as well as on the problems associated with the consolidation of the new party systems in post-communistEurope. This is the first book to be entirely devoted to the question of party and party system change, and offers and essential guide to the understanding of this crucial theme.
Main Description
This unique and important new book looks at how we interpret the evidence of change and stability in modern parties and party systems. Focusing primarily on processes of political adaptation and control, it also concerns how parties and party systems generate their own momentum and 'freeze'themselves into place. Amidst the widespread contemporary discussion of the challenge to modern democracy and the crisis of traditional forms of political representation, it offers a welcome emphasis on how party systems survive, and on how change, when it does occur, may be analysed andunderstood. The first part of the book deals with questions of persistence and change, and with the vulnerability and endurance of traditional parties. In the second part, attention shifts to the question of party organization, and to the ways in which the established parties are increasingly coming toinvade the state, finding there a new source of privilege and a new means of ensuring their own survival. The third part of the book focuses on structures of competition in Western party systems, as well as on the problems associated with the consolidation of the new party systems in post-communistEurope. This is the first book to be entirely devoted to the question of party and party system change, and offers and essential guide to the understanding of this crucial theme. 'Peter Mair has produced a book that represents political science at its most erudite . . . It is a learned work based on wide reading. It is brimming with references to the contributions of other scholars.' Times Higher Education Supplement 'Building on several previously published essays of his, Mair has produced a precious little book. I particularly admire his ability to construct his argument with reference to the existing theories and to buttress it resorting to the available data. Moreover, he cleverly suggests different linesof interpretation and areas where new research is needed....there is a lot to be learned and to be utilised in Mair's analysis. The book is to be commended both for what it says and for what it suggests'. Gianfranco Pasquino, West European Politics 'With this volume Peter Mair brings together nearly a decade's worth of his work on European political parties. All but two chapters have been previously published, but in such a range of locations that the breadth and depth of his scholarship will likely have been underappreciated by all but themost dedicated students of European political parties. . . . The book has many strengths. It offers an important counterpoint to a literature that has become perhaps too focused on survey research and the behaviour of voters. The distinctions made between party system, party as organization andparty in the electorate, while not completely novel, have been used with good effect to clarify the analysis of electoral change. Mair has drawn our attention, once again, to the intriguing notion of party autonomy vis-(-vis the state and civil society. The book is exceptionally clearly writtenand displays the author's encyclopedic knowledge of European political parties. Donald E. Blake, Canadian Journal of Political Science
Table of Contents
Introduction
On the Freezing of Party Systems
Persistence and Change
Continuities, Changes, and the Vulnerability of Party
The Problem of Party System Change
Myths of Electoral Change and the Survival of the `Old' Parties
Party Organizations and Party Systems
Party Organization, Party Democracy, and the Emergence of the Cartel Party
Popular Legitimacy and Public Privileges: Party Organizations in Civil Society and the State
Party Systems and Structures of Competition
Electoral Markets and Stable States
What is Different about Post-Communist Systems?
Party Systems and Structures of Competition
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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