Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

By Paul Webb; David Farrell et al. | Go to book overview
the same time, revealing, and also contributing to, the growing detachment of parties from their once privileged societal partners. This was coupled with an erosion of party-centred subcultures.Once the transformation began, changes in party functionality have generally resulted from the different organizational characteristics of the new parties and from the new patterns of competition which emerged. Pre-transformation parties had stable relationships with other institutions in the political system and with societal groups. The government or opposition status of parties was more or less permanent, thus making for very stable patterns of governance. Similarly, whether they encapsulated specific social subcultures (according to the mass-party model) or had links with a plurality of interest groups (revealing a catch-all orientation), parties remained anchored to their societal referents; this stabilized patterns of interest aggregation and articulation. In the 1990s, the position of parties changed as a consequence of the new electoral law and because of changes in their organizational characteristics. The new, essentially majoritarian, electoral law opened up the competition for governmental status to more parties in the system. At the same time it forced the building of electoral coalitions, and not only of governmental ones. Alternation in government and the construction and maintenance of coalitions radically affected patterns of governance: not only were all parties potential players in government, but also non-party actors (technicians) were called upon to take a role.The current situation is far from stabilized, resulting as it does from an unplanned and incomplete programme of institutional reform. As the Italian academic debate points out, it is unrealistic to expect a stabilization of the rules of the political game and of party behaviour at a time when one of the biggest preoccupations of the parties remains how to change those very rules through further institutional reform.
Appendix: Glossary of Party Acronyms
DP Democrazia Proletaria/Proletarian Democracy.
PSIUP Partito Socialista Italiano di Unità Proletaria/Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity.
PDUP Partito di Unità Proletaria/Party of Proletarian Unity.
PCI Partito Comunista Italiano/Italian Communist Party.
RC Rifondazione Comunista/Communist Refoundation.
PDS Partito Democratico di Sinistra/Democratic Party of the Left.
PSI Partito Socialista Italiano/Italian Socialist Party.
PSDI Partito Socialista Democratico Italiano/Italian Social Democratic Party.
PSU Partito Socialista Unificato/Unified Socialist Party. Formed between 1966 and 1969 as a result of a short-lived merger between PSI and PSDI.
DC Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy.

-73-

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Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Comparative Politics ii
  • Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures ix
  • List of Tables x
  • Notes on Contributors xiv
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • References 14
  • 2: Political Parties in Britain 16
  • References 42
  • 3: Italian Parties 46
  • Appendix: Glossary of Party Acronyms 73
  • 4: Party Decline in the Parties State? the Changing Environment of German Politics 77
  • References 103
  • 5: France 107
  • References 147
  • 6: The Colour Purple 151
  • 7: The Scandinavian Party Model at the Crossroads 181
  • References 210
  • 9: Spain 248
  • References 276
  • 10: Parties at the European Level 280
  • References 306
  • 11: Still Functional After All These Years 310
  • 12: Canada's Nineteenth-Century Cadre Parties at the Millennium 345
  • References 377
  • 13: Political Parties in Australia 379
  • References 406
  • 14: Parties and Society in New Zealand 409
  • References 434
  • 15: Conclusion 438
  • Index 461
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