• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Politics and Society in Western Europe is a comprehensive introduction for students of West European politics and of comparative politics. This new edition has been extensively revised and updated to meet with the new needs of undergraduate students as they come to terms with a changing social and political landscape in Europe.

This textbook provides a full analysis of the political systems of 18 Western European countries, their political parties, elections, and party systems, as well as the structures of government at local, regional, national and European Union levels.

Throughout the book, key theoretical ideas are accessibly introduced and examined against the very latest empirical data on civil society and the state.

Political Stability
Political stability

If democratic politics is nourished by men and women engaging in collective action resulting in the kinds of issues described in Chapter 9, then what prevents the politicization of social conflict from threatening the democratic regime? Perhaps democracy is undermining in the long run its own foundations by intense short-run conflicts? We have seen in Chapter 9 that some countries have had to struggle with intense issues for a long time without being able to arrive at depoliticization. Could issues be conducive to political stability? Let us first discuss the meaning of ‘political stability’.

Tocqueville was well aware of the danger that the democratic regime can become unstable and be replaced by an authoritarian one. He stated, in an interesting passage which anticipates the ...

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