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Synopsis

Is European party politics hovering above society? Why do voters pick one party over others? Is it a question of class? Of religion? Of attitudes about taxes or immigration or global warming? Or is it something else entirely? The Structure of Political Competition in Western Europe takes a detailed look at the ways in which Western Europe’s party systems are anchored in social and ideological structures. The book’s first section focuses on the role of social structures - particularly education, class and religion - and analyzes the complex interplay among these factors. The second section addresses the ways that the sociological structures such as class and religion interact with voters’ values. The third section examines the way that these structures and values shape the space of political competition among parties. The conclusion integrates the findings of the empirical articles, putting them into broader comparative perspective, discussing whether relatively predictable structures have been overwhelmed by media-driven spectacles, political personalities and focus on short-term economic performance.

This volume will appeal to scholars and graduate students in Europe and those from North America, Asia and other regions who study European politics, political parties, cleavages and political behaviour.

This book was published as a special issue of West European Politics.

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