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.
Chapter 5: Party Systems
When West European political parties were analysed at length in Chapters 3 and 4, the focus was on the single parties, their continuity and social bases. However, political parties also constitute so-called party systems which require their own analysis, as a system of parties in a country is not merely the aggregation of characteristics of the single parties.
A party system like any system consists of parts and relationships between these parts. According to systems analysis a system is a set of objects together with relationships between the objects and between their attributes (Hall and Fagen, 1956: 18). The parts of a party system are, of course, the political parties, but the specification of relationships is not as simple as the specification of ...