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      Welfare Democracies and Party Politics

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      Oxford University Press

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          Europe’s political landscapes are in turmoil; new radical parties challenge the established political order. This book locates Europe’s contemporary challenges within the longer economic and political trajectories of its “welfare democracies.” It argues forcefully that it is imperative to understand the specific structures of political competition and voter–party links to make sense of the political and economic turmoil of the last decades. In four distinct European welfare democracies (Nordic, continental, southern, and Anglo-Saxon), the political economy, the party system, and the structure of the political space are co-determined in a specific way. Accordingly, specific combinations of policies and politics and distinct patterns of alignment between core electoral groups and political parties exist in the four welfare democracies and shape their reactions to current challenges. With this, the book provides an analytical framework that links welfare states to party systems, combining recent contributions to the comparative political economy of the welfare state and insights from party and electoral politics. The book identifies three phenomena: in electoral politics it states a certain homogenization of European party systems, the emergence of a new combination of leftist socio-economic and rightist socio-cultural positions in many parties, and finally the rise of the radical right in the north of Europe and the radical left in the south. The contributions to this book also indicate a confluence toward renewed welfare state support among parties and voters. Finally, the Europeanization of political dynamics, combined with incompatible growth models, has created pronounced European cleavages.

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          May 24 2018


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