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In defence of Satori: party system change, voter preference distributions and other competitive incentives

By JA Evans


In a recent re-evaluation of developments in European party systems, Paul Pennings has criticized Sartori for inaccurately predicting trends in party competition in his original typology, particularly as evidenced by indicators such as ideological polarization, electoral volatility and systemic stability. In this article I argue that many of these criticisms are unfounded as, firstly, they misinterpret Sartori's assumptions and predictions; and secondly, they employ invalid indicators to measure such party system traits. Furthermore, whilst the polarized pluralist type in particular needs clarification in many respects, focusing on voter preference distributions reveals that the fundamental arguments about the direction of competition are correct. I conclude that if a better understanding of contemporary party systems is to be reached, greater attention needs to be given to electoral demand and its interaction with party supply whilst retaining the principal features of Sartori's model

Topics: JA, JN, other
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2002
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