THE CLASSIFICATION OF PARTY SYSTEMS
|•||For a considerable time, and especially in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, most
political scientists believed that there was a limited number of types of party system to be found among the liberal democracies. The earliest, and crudest,
classifications posited a distinction between two-party and multiparty systems,
though later classifications, such as Sartori's, were far more complex than this.
But common to all of them was the attempt to explain the distinctive kind of
party behaviour that was supposedly associated with each of the different types
of party system. Attempts at classification grew out of a quite natural ambition
by political scientists to be able to say more than, for example, that the main features of the British party system include (a),(b), and (c), while the main features
of the Japanese system include (x),(y), and (z). Political scientists wanted to be
able to say that the British party system is an example of a particular type of party
system--say, M--and, as such, its features include (a) and (b), though it also displays the distinctive feature (c); on the other hand, Japan has a party system of
type N, and because of this its features include (x) and (y), although it also happens to have the peculiar feature (z). Political science could then go on to try to
explain why systems of types M and N developed in the way that they did.|
Unfortunately, in the real world there are a large number of variables affecting
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Publication information: Book title: Political Parties and Party Systems. Contributors: Alan Ware - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 147.
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