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.

Historical Legacies

Historical legacies

Political convergence in Europe will not only reflect the forces that promote increasing similarities, but of equal importance is how different the countries were earlier, at the starting-point, so to speak. In a longitudinal perspective on politics what happened in the past plays a major role in shaping the present and the future. One may describe the historical forces that operate through time as ‘onlingering legacies’. Most probably, the stronger the historical legacies are entrenched the more the starting-point would limit what is attainable over a period of time. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss and measure this rather vague concept of historical legacies, if feasible.

When analysing historical legacies one may investigate the literature on macro social structures and their ...

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