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Party System ChangeApproaches and Interpretations$
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Peter Mair

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198295499.001.0001

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The Problem of Party System Change

The Problem of Party System Change

(p.45) 3 The Problem of Party System Change
Party System Change

Peter Mair (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This is the second of three chapters on persistence and change in political parties. Its theme is the problem of party system change in western Europe, and its purpose, rather than to propose some rigorous definition of it, is simply to identify some of the problems involved in the understanding of party system change, and, through this approach, to place some key questions on the agenda for future debate and future research. The discussion is presented in six sections: (1) Party Change versus Party System Change; (2) Party System Change; (3) Electoral Volatility and Cleavage Change –– a discussion of the role of ‘social’ cleavage change (resulting from changes in the cleavage structure or social make-up of support to individual parties) in electoral change and party system change in the context of Lipset–Rokkan ‘law’ on ‘the freezing of party systems’; (4) How Much Electoral Change?; (5) The Electoral Bias; and (6) Key Problems.

Keywords:   change, cleavage change, cleavage structure, electoral bias, electoral change, electoral change, electoral volatility, freezing of party systems, party change, party system change, political parties, social cleavage change, western Europe, western party systems

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