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The Content and Nature of Political Competition in Europe: Conceptualizing Political Space and Axis of Party Competition

Rovny, Jan. (2007) The Content and Nature of Political Competition in Europe: Conceptualizing Political Space and Axis of Party Competition. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    [From the introduction]. European Union countries face a comparable set of socio-economic challenges: from rationalization of the welfare systems and generation of economic growth and employment, to absorption of immigrant communities and the granting of legal rights to minorities with alternate life-styles. Despite these general similarities, a striking feature of politics in Europe is the diversity of political competition present in its political systems. While in some countries political contest occurs primarily over economic policy, the political debate in others centers on issues such as protection of national culture and state sovereignty. This paper aims to address how political competition can be theoretically comprehended, and what accounts for the variance in the content of European political contestation. To answer these questions, this paper builds on spatial theory of political competition, and develops two additional concepts: political space and axis of competition in the opening theoretical section. The second section of this work turns to the empirical expression of the axis of competition in Europe. The third section serves as a demonstration of the conceptual framework. It performs a multinomial logit analysis on individual vote choice, linking the variation of competition axes to electoral competition. The paper argues for understanding political competition in the light of political space and axis of competition. It emphasizes that the particular content of competition stems from the interaction of supply and demand factors, the interplay between individual preferences and party strategies. There is a connection between the nature of party competition expressed by the slope of the competition axis and the particular issues that individual voters consider when selecting a political party. Consequently, where party competition unfolds along an economic dimension, voters consider major political parties on the basis of their economic inclinations, while where political contest occurs along a social dimension, social issues play a more significant role in vote choice for major parties. Minor parties, somewhat marginalized in the political system, seek to highlight other issues, competing for votes along secondary dimensions or non-policy issues.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > general
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > European elections/voting behavior
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political parties
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2008
    Page Range: p. 30
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:51
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8015

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