From the award-winning team behind the International Encyclopaedia of Political Science... Moving beyond mainstream “traditional” approaches to bring you a new advanced-level introduction to political science. A perfect introduction for postgraduates who are new to political science, as well as upper-level undergraduates looking to broaden and deepen their understanding of core topics, this progressive account: • Guides you through all key areas of political science: origins, methodological foundations, key topics, and current issues • Takes an international and pluralist perspective with all issues explored in a comparative way related to different cultural and historical contexts • Includes pulled-out descriptions of major concepts, further reading and self-assessment questions at the end of each chapter.

Political Parties

Political Parties

Key terms

  • Cartel party
  • Catch-all party
  • De-alignment/re-alignment
  • Duverger’s laws
  • Effective number of parties
  • Electoral systems
  • Left-right spectrum
  • Party identification
  • Proportional representation


Political parties are an indispensable part of modern representative democracies. In the first broad empirical study on modern democracies James Bryce (1921: 119) stated, for example: ‘parties are inevitable. … No one has shown how representative government could be worked without them’. Later, Elmer Schattschneider (1942: 1) affirmed: ‘political parties created democracy and modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties’. These statements are still empirically correct today, but will be qualified below. Moreover, in some forms political parties can be found in non-democratic states, but the word itself (from Latin pars, i.e. part) suggests that they are part of a larger entity, namely a party system with ...

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