PLSC 485a/663a Week VI. Reading Guide:
Party Systems

Readings from Mair's The West European Party System
Sartori argues that once mass parties appear, older forms or political parties become obsolete. Why might this happen?
#8Skip the Daalder reading
#9 Lipset and Rokkan. This piece is a classic of political sociology. In it, Lipset and Rokkan develop an explanation for the number and variety of parties in any given European nation. This theory worked rather well until the 1970's. Why do the authors argue that party competition helps a political system to survive the grievances of the citizens? What does this suggest about the durability of a one party state? (Ignore figure 9.1, and the l-g and a-i axes.) What lines of cleavage do they argue were created by the National revolution? What lines of cleavage do they argue were created by the Industrial revolution? What kind of parties do each of these cleavages produce? Which of these four cleavages do you think are present in the USA? What parties fall on each side of these cleavages?
#11 Sartori is critical of most of the previous research on political parties, and apt to vehement criticism of inconsistencies or mistakes of other authors. Why does he argue that we cannot prove that parties "represent" classes? Why does he argue that parties actually do not "reflect" the class cleavage very well? If you had to define "left" and "right", what would you come up with? In what way can a "class" be a consequence, rather than a cause of a political party?
#20 Duverger argues that political conflict is essentially dualistic. What is his evidence? Given his assumption, how does he explain multiparty systems?
#22 How does Blondel define types of party systems?
#24 How does Sartori define types of party systems? What is wrong with just counting the number of parties? Which parties really "count" in a party system?