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The Transformation of European Social Democracy
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  • 48 b/w illus. 30 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511884016)

This book explains the contrasting strategies and their electoral fortunes of social democratic parties in the major European democracies in the 1970s and 1980s. Going beyond approaches that focus on the influence of class structure and political economic institutions, The Transformation of European Social Democracy analyses the party's competitive situation in the electoral arena, the constraints and opportunities of party organisation, and the role of ideological legacies to explain the strategic choices social democratic parties have made and the electoral results they have achieved. Far from being doomed to decline, social democracy's success depends on its ability to transform its political message and to construct new electoral coalitions.

• Looks at all the major European social democracies • Challenges the view that social democracy is inevitably doomed • Considers how European political parties need to adapt to changing circumstances


Introduction; 1. Social structure and preference formation: opportunities for left party strategy in the 1970s and 1980s; 2. Class structure and left party performance; 3. Left party fortunes and the political economy; 4. Social democratic strategy and electoral competition; 5. Internal politics in socialist parties: preference formation, aggregation and strategic choice; 6. The socialist discourse: political semantics and party strategy; 7. Social democracy in decline? Analytical and normative extensions of the argument; Bibliography.


'This volume should be regarded as essential reading in any advanced course on comparative politics.' International Affairs

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