This book explains the contrasting strategies of social democratic parties and their electoral fortunes in the major European democracies in the 1970s and 1980s. Going beyond approaches that focus on the influence of class structures and political economic institutions, Herbert Kitschelt analyzes a party's competitive situation in the electoral arena, the constraints and opportunities of party organization, and ideological legacies to explain the strategic choices made by social democratic parties and their electoral results. Social democracy is far from being doomed to decline, but its success depends on its ability to transform its political message and construct new electoral coalitions.
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Going beyond approaches that focus on the influence of class structure and political economic institutions, this text analyzes a party's competitive situation in the electoral arena to explain the strategic choices made by social democratic parties in the 1970s and 1980s.Review:
"Kitschelt's work is...well researched, highly readable, and extremely interesting, particularly to scholars of the comparative persuasion. To those involved in European politics the study is simply a must." Perspectives on Political Science
"Kitschelt's Transformation is a magisterial work, full of intelligence, erudition and social science insight. It should establish Kitschelt among the premier comparativists working in North America today. ...immensely rewarding... Kitschelt mobilizes more literature, science, theory and data in The Transformation than most of us will read in a lifetime." The Review of Politics
"The author combines a variety of theoretical approaches with extensive empirical analysis in a very fruitful manner and succeeds in adding a gem to the literature on comparative politics. This volume should be regarded as essential reading in any advanced course on comparative politics." International Affairs
"The book, and its large number of tables and figures, will be of professional interest to political scientists specializing in Western European party politics." M. Curtis, Choice
"Kitscelt's work stands out as an example of theorizing that addresses complexity in a relatively systematic way." Wold Politics
"This book is full of information, and it is packed with interesting questions for further research....His refreshing frankness about the problems of the social scientific enterprise and his deliberate approach shows him to be both a careful craftsman and a provocative theorist. Kitschelt's book is a major contribution to the study of political parties and election outcomes. As such it is interesting not just for those engaged in research and teaching on socialist parties in Europe. There is much in here that will be useful and important for researchers of party fortunes on all sides of the political spectrum." Christopher Anderson, Journal of Politics
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