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The Strain of Representation
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The Strain of Representation assesses and explains the extent to which political parties across Europe as a whole have succeeded in representing diverse voters. The authors note two important features of the European political landscape that complicate the task of assessing party representation and that require its reassessment: First, the emergence of new democracies in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe point to the possibility that representation is not only differentially achieved in West and East but may also be attained by different mechanisms. Second, parties in both West and East must now seek to represent voters that are increasingly diverse, specifically between partisan and independent supporters. The book refers to the challenges of representation of diverse voters as 'the strain of representation'. The evidential basis for the empirical analysis are expert surveys conducted in 24 European countries on party positions that have been merged with other available data on voters, party characteristics, and country conditions. The results point to both the representational capacities of parties in West and East and to the strain that parties face in representing diverse voters.
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Table of Contents

Preface ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Theory: Representational Strain ; 3. Choices ; 4. Programs ; 5. Congruence ; 6. Party Organizations and Congruence ; 7. Social Base and Congruence ; 8. National Context and Congruence ; 9. Conclusion ; Bibliography ; Index

About the Author

Robert Rohrschneider received a Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University in 1989, and first taught at the University of Kentucky (1989-1991), and then at Indiana University-Bloomington (1991-2008) before moving to the University of Kansas. His first book, Learning Democracy: Economic and Democratic Values in Unified Germany, won the 1998 Stein Rokkan prize from the ECPR. He has subsequently examined the extent to Shich European publics perceive the EU to be organized democratically. He is Sir Robert Worcester Distinguished Professor of International Public Opinion and Survey Research. Stephen Whitefield completed a doctorate in Oxford in 1991 and has had academic appointments at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London and since 1993 at Pembroke College and the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University. His first book with OUP, Industrial Power and the Soviet State (1993), won the Ed A. Hewitt Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavonic Studies. He has subsequently published extensively (with Geoffrey Evans) on the social and ideological bases of citizens' partisan choices and on support for democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. He is Professor of Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University and Fellow in Politics, Pembroke College, Oxford.

Reviews

The Strain of Representation makes a major contribution to the important and rapidly growing field: democratic representation. Using new studies of political parties in East and West Europe, the book identifies the political alignments in contemporary party systems, the policy attitudes of citizens, mechanisms of electoral competition for parties, and ultimately the complex relationship between parties and their voters. In a world of growing political complexity, this book provides an insightful demonstration of how the model of party government still functions effectively in European democracies. * Russell J. Dalton, University of California, Irvine *

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