PARTY SYSTEMS IN NON-
In Chapter 4 we examined parties outside the liberal democratic world--discussing some of the similarities as well as the differences between them. At the beginning of that chapter we noted that parties in these other types of regime cannot be treated as a single category of institution: they are simply too diverse for that. When we turn to look at party systems in these regimes we encounter an even greater problem than this. To understand it we need to ask the question, 'what is a party system?', for, as was noted in the Introduction, to focus discussion on party systems is to focus on a rather different subject than parties.
Consider other areas of social life in which we refer to the idea of a 'system', such as the 'capitalist system of the Western world' or the I transport system in Britain'. 'What is involved in their 'systemness' is interaction between different elements--interactions that comprise both competition and co-operation between some of the different elements. For example, rail transport competes with road transport for passengers and freight, but enterprises in both areas often adopt pricing strategies that prevent destructive price wars; in a transport system there is also extensive co-operation (sometimes in theory more often than in practice!) between different kinds of actors, so that local buses are timed to provide connections with train services and so on. For something to be described as a 'system' there have to be boundaries and rules which constrict the actions of the participants--though these may not be the same for all of them. The ways in which the elements, in our case parties, are constrained determine the nature of the particular incentives for them to compete or co-operate (and often both together), and in turn this produces the distinctive elements of that system. Of course, there can be different interpretations by both participants and observers