In the course of writing this book, a number of debts have been incurred which should be acknowledged. The book has benefited from the critical feedback which members of the group have been able to provide to each other, a process particularly facilitated by a meeting staged at Brunel University in March 1998. This was an invaluable experience, and one which was made possible by the financial generosity of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, the McDougall Trust, the journal Party Politics, and the Department of Government at Brunel University, where Paul Webb was a member of staff at the time the meeting was held. Though they are not contributors to this volume, we also gained from the valued participation at that meeting of Stephen White, David Stansfield, Lars Bille, Jim Tomlinson, Andrew Appleton, and Rei Shiratori. It should also be said that a debt of gratitude is owed to those scholars not directly involved in the making of this book, but whose intellectual efforts have proved a source of guidance and inspiration. There are, of course, many upon whose work, explicitly or implicitly, we have drawn, but two in particular—Dick Katz and Peter Mair—deserve thanks given the frequent reference made by our contributors to their ideas and to their party organizational data.
Feedback provided to Paul Webb at various conferences and seminar presentations over the years has also proved very helpful in respect of some of the themes and material included in the book: of particular note in this respect are the 'Party Politics in the Year 2000' conference staged in Manchester (January 1995), the British Politics Group panel at APSA Annual Meeting in Boston (September 1998) and research seminars held at the University of Copenhagen (May 1994), the University of Sheffield (March 1998), and the Sussex European Institute (January 2001). It would be invidious to single out individuals from any of these sessions for particular thanks, but each occasion helped evolve the understanding of political parties which is articulated in this book.
Significant intellectual debts are owed to the three anonymous referees who provided incisive and constructive feedback on the original proposal which was presented to Oxford University Press: without it, this would have been both a less ambitious and less well-conceived undertaking. Dominic Byatt has proved a very patient, encouraging and accommodating presence at OUP, while Amanda Watkins managed the transition from manuscript to published book with great efficiency.
Finally, a number of the book's contributors would like to offer individual acknowledgements in respect of their particular chapters. Ian Holliday is grateful to Ingrid van Biezen, David Farrell, Laura Morales, Luis Ramiro, and Paul Webb for very helpful comments on his chapter on Spanish parties. Andrew Knapp wishes