This comprehensive textbook is the first to go beyond a western European perspective and provide a clear overview of European politics. Authors Jan-Erik Lane and Svante O. Ersson address the similarities of key political features among states in western, central, eastern, northern, and southern Europe and look forward to political developments toward the turn of the century. European Politics provides a thorough analysis of several converging key themes, including the nature of the state, party systems, and the formation of government and public policies. With this approach to economic, social, and political aspects of politics in Europe this major text presents a Europe that—within the context of reform—transition, and integration, has more in common in the early 1990s than ever before. With a clear thematic structure and helpful discussions of data drawn from 31 countries, European Politics offers both an accessible and genuinely comparative text that will be essential reading for students and researchers alike.
In the early 1990s the countries of Europe are all multi-party democracies. They all cherish the institutions of representative democracy as the proper mechanisms for governing the public sector and the institutions of the competitive market economy have spread into Eastern Europe after being harmonized among West European countries through the EC activities. Yet, getting the institutions right may not be enough to guarantee the viability of the democratic regime. The way institutions actually work depends on social capital, or the beliefs, values, attitudes of the individuals participating in various forms in democratic choice processes (Putnam, 1993). Democracies tend to have a special political culture of trust in and common understanding of the rules of the political game, as suggested early on ...