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Look Inside Party Competition between Unequals

Party Competition between Unequals
Strategies and Electoral Fortunes in Western Europe

$124.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: June 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521887656

$ 124.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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 new 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 analyzes 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Recent studies have set important challenges to existing institutional and sociological explanations for variations in the success of niche parties, leaving a puzzle to be answered as to what might be the true causal factor. This important book provides the answer to the puzzle and does so by bringing parties back into the analysis. Bonnie Meguid’s new theory of party strategic choice provides fascinating insights into how the established parties react to new challengers, thus determining their fate.”
    David Farrell, University of Manchester

    “This is an innovative book. Offering a different and useful way to think about the dynamics of party systems, Meguid breaks new ground. Her approach to studying niche parties will influence a broad swath of the literature in comparative politics.”
    Ken Kollman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    “Meguid has written a wonderful book. Thoughtful, smart, and a long-overdue correction of many of the errors disseminated in the standard scholarly works on political parties and party competition, Party Competition between Unequals offers an elegant and persuasive paradigm that explains why and when niche parties succeed or fail. Its findings will command the attention of students of parties and party competition irrespective of their regional focus.”
    Anthony Messina, visiting fellow, American Political Science Association

    “Meguid does an excellent job constructing a theoretical account that applies both beyond France and to party families … the topic is both fascinating and familiar to anyone who has followed the fortunes of the French National Front … provides a very important corrective by forcing readers to consider the electoral fortunes of political parties within the strategic context of national party systems."
    Leonard Ray, Louisiana State University, Comparative Politics Book Reviews

    "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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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521887656
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    Bonnie M. Meguid, University of Rochester, New York
    Bonnie Meguid is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. Her research on party competition has been published in The American Political Science Review. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Krupp Foundation, and her doctoral dissertation was awarded the Samuel H. Beer Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation on British Politics by the British Politics Group.

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