Introduction: Multi-Level Electoral Competition: Elections and Parties in Decentralized States

Hough, Dan and Jeffery, Charlie (2003) Introduction: Multi-Level Electoral Competition: Elections and Parties in Decentralized States. European Urban and Regional Studies, 10 (3). pp. 195-198. ISSN 0969-7764

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The study of parties and elections has traditionally focused on the national, or statewide, arena.1 The reasons for this are obvious enough. As Reif and Schmitt (1980: 8) put it, there is in most cases simply more at stake in statewide elections. National parliaments and government are (still) the most important decision-making fora. So we want to know how they are formed. And that means looking at the factors that shape statewide election outcomes, and the ways political parties negotiate the statewide electoral arena. But there is also a disguised normative element at play here. Processes of nation building in Western Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries typically understood regional identities as conservative anachronisms set to disappear as the modern national state established common standards of public services and an overarching, statewide process of opinion formation. In these circumstances political parties emerged or adapted to articulate social interests generated around standard, statewide cleavages: class, religion and so on (Lipset and Rokkan, 1967). Parties became ‘nationalized’ (Hopkin, this issue), focused on statewide controversies, and focused on winning the big prize of national-level government.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Daniel Hough
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:29
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2015 10:10
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