Crisis or Adaptation?
ROGER BUCH JENSEN*
Odense University, Denmark
Editors' note: Several factors in this chapter illustrate the workings of the theoretical framework. First, Jensen observes a political pattern similar to that in Switzerland and Germany, where parties strive for compromise and look for policies supported by all political groupings in the community. As expected, this is especially true in smaller communities, where inhabitants tend to suppress political conflict or believe that community problems are nonpolitical and are to be solved by professional expertise according to the criterion of "technical efficiency." The traditional political culture of small towns initially made it difficult for national parties to colonize the countryside because these communities stressed values of personalized trust and community reputation (see also Schneider, Chapter 5). As in Great Britain and Germany, the spread of local parties and contested partisan elections since the 1970s was preconditioned by territorial reforms that resulted in diminishing the numbers and raising the average size of communities all over the country. Although municipal reorganization, proportional representation, and public financing have strengthened local branches of national parties, other events such as the movement to unranked party lists and the decentralization of formal authority to administrative units have weakened them.
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Publication information: Book title: Local Parties in Political and Organizational Perspective. Contributors: Martin Saiz - Editor, Hans Geser - Editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 242.