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Party and DemocracyThe Uneven Road to Party Legitimacy$
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Piero Ignazi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735854

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198735854.001.0001

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The Party’s Golden Age and Its Demise

The Party’s Golden Age and Its Demise

(p.107) 4 The Party’s Golden Age and Its Demise
Party and Democracy

Piero Ignazi

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 deals with the evolution of the party in the post-war period until the late 1960s. It suggests that because the recovery of democracy after the Second World War coincided with multi-partism, this credited parties with an unprecedented legitimation in the first post-war years. This general sentiment was built on the role parties played in all countries under Fascist or Nazi rule, and the more parties were active, the more confidence they gained. The positive reception of parties went hand in hand with their organizational development. However, precisely when parties deployed their full strength, they were tamed by societal and technological transformation. The chapter discusses how the parties’ response to 1960s’ post-industrialization by becoming catch-all structures depressed their legitimation. The post-war general consensus on the parties’ central role faded, opening the way for a new type of party criticism: parties now were considered not divisive enough but rather too consensual.

Keywords:   totalitarian heritage, post-war parties, golden age, confidence, organization, catch-all party, accommodation, consensus, polarization, the ’68 and aftermath

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