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Party Competition between Unequals


  • Page extent: 340 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.67 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521887656)

Why do some political parties flourish, while others flounder? In this book, Meguid examines variation in the electoral trajectories of the new set of single-issue parties: green, radical right, and ethnoterritorial parties. Instead of being dictated by electoral institutions or the socioeconomic climate, as the dominant theories contend, the fortunes of these niche parties, she argues, are shaped by the strategic responses of mainstream parties. She advances a theory of party competition in which mainstream parties facing unequal competitors have access to a wider and more effective set of strategies than posited by standard spatial models. Combining statistical analyses with in-depth case studies from Western Europe, the book explores how and why established parties undermine niche parties or turn them into weapons against their mainstream party opponents. This study of competition between unequals thus provides broader insights into the nature and outcome of competition between political equals.

• One of few books that combines quantitative and qualitative analyses, using 55 test cases over three decades • Examines a range of niche parties, including green, radical right, and ethnoterritorial parties • Challenges the dominant spatial model of party competition and offers a new theory of interaction between mainstream and niche parties


1. The niche party phenomenon; 2. Position, salience, and ownership: a strategic theory of niche party success; 3. An analysis of niche party fortunes in Western Europe; 4. A theory of strategic choice; 5. Stealing the environmental title: British mainstream party strategies and the containment of the Green Party; 6. 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend': French mainstream party strategies and the success of the Front National; 7. An uneven battle of opposing forces: mainstream party strategies and the success of the Scottish National Party; 8. Cross-national comparisons and extensions; 9. Conclusions: broader lessons of competition between unequals.


'In this well-written, accessible, and superbly researched book, Meguid offers a new framework for explaining what she calls niche party success and failure. … Meguid's book significantly advances our understanding of the relationship between mainstream and niche parties, niche party success and failure, and party competition between unequals and nonproximal parties.' Journal of Politics

'… the book offers brilliant academic intrigue … good reading for social scientists and their students, [and] also for policy analysts and policy makers …' CEU Political Science Journal

'In this very valuable contribution to comparative state-church studies, Ahmet T. Kuru takes readers on a deep and illuminating dive to examine why three self-consciously 'secular' states - the United States, France, and Turkey - have come to treat religion in the public sphere so differently from one another … Kuru offers a fresh and well-researched perspective on the resulting clashes, and he demonstrates why assertive secularism won out in twentieth century France and Turkey.' Jonathan Laurence, Culture and Society

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