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Eastern Europe has traditionally been a region of emigration, sending thousands of refugees and migrants to the more developed and democratic west. The recent democratization and rising affluence of some eastern European countries, however, make them increasingly attractive destinations of migrant workers, slowly but surely turning them into immigrant societies. This article addresses the responses of political parties to the issue of immigration and immigrant integration. Through large-N quantitative analyses of 11 eastern European countries using the Chapel Hill Expert Surveys, the 2009 European Election Study, the Database of Political Institutions and World Bank indicators, it analyzes the causes of immigration salience, as well as the reasons behind immigration and integration policy positions. The article argues that partisan and voter views on immigration in eastern Europe are guided by ideological views on ethnic minorities, which have been the traditional ‘out-groups’ in the region. Partisan positions on immigration and immigrant integration are consequently determined by underlying ideological principles concerning cultural openness and acceptance of ‘otherness’. Immigrants to eastern Europe are consequently viewed as the other ‘other’.

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This special issue studies the strategic interaction between major state-wide and regional parties in a political setting defined by multiple, potentially cross-cutting, political issues pertaining to the economy and the territorial organization of multi-national states. Through this framework, this special issue locates itself decisively in the behaviorist tradition of studying political competition. Stemming from the classical works of Riker and the Rochester school, and focusing on rational choice models, this tradition has influenced a lively literature on party strategies. This concluding article of the special issue argues that the findings of the substantive contributions create a bridge between the strategic, Rikerian literature they stem from and seek to engage with, and more sociological approaches to the study of political parties that focus on the structural features of politics reaching back to the works of Lipset and Rokkan. I suggest that, ultimately, this special issue demonstrates the socially, historically, and institutionally bounded opportunities of political parties. Fundamentally, the special issue makes a significant contribution to the strategic literature by suggesting structural limits to strategic behavior.

in Party Politics Publié en 2019-01
WHITEFIELD Stephen
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We start from the premise that the content of political competition is regularly remade by shifting contexts and by the strategic activity of political actors including parties. But while there are naturally thousands of potential issues on which politics can be contested, there are in practice and for good reasons ways in which structure and limits come to reduce the competition to more cognitively manageable and regularized divisions—in short, to issue dimensions. It is highly timely to return to these questions since, we argue, the social, political, and economic turbulence of recent years raises the possibility that the ideological structure of how parties present themselves to voters may be radically shifting. The papers in this special issue, therefore, each tackle an important aspect of the shifting character of the issues that underlie party competition in various European settings. In this article, we provide an overview of the relevant “state of the art” on issue dimensionality and how the subject is situated within the broad framework of understanding party competition.

in Research & Politics Publié en 2014-11
BAKKER Ryan
EDWARDS Erica
JOLLY Seth
POLK Jonathan
STEENBERGEN Marco
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Expert surveys are a valuable, commonly used instrument to measure party positions. Some critics question the cross-national comparability of these measures, though, suggesting that experts may lack a common anchor for fundamental concepts such as economic left–right. Using anchoring vignettes in the 2010 Chapel Hill Expert Survey, we examine the extent of cross-national difference in expert ideological placements. We find limited evidence of cross-national differences; on the whole, our findings further establish expert surveys as a rigorous instrument for measuring party positions in a cross-national context. Scholars of party politics need to measure the positions parties take on a variety of policy domains. They have developed a diverse set of data collection tools – including, most notably, manifestos, roll call data, voter judgment, and expert surveys – in response to this challenge. While different sources of data may be appropriate for different kinds of questions related to party positions, we argue that expert surveys offer several advantages over other alternatives. Expert surveys allow researchers to obtain positions for many different types of parties across a range of contexts (see, for example, Benoit and Laver, 2006; Hooghe et al., 2010; Rohrschneider and Whitefield, 2009). Expert surveys’ virtues include that they are inexpensive to administer, that they draw on broad knowledge about parties by tapping into information about what parties say and do, and that they allow for a high degree of flexibility as researchers can gather information on any topic for which there are enough competent experts (Marks et al., 2007). As a result, expert placements of parties are widely used within political science today. Yet important questions pertaining to the expert evaluations remain. For instance, Budge (2000) is concerned that expert-specific differences contribute to errors in the data, including, for example, expert political preferences leading to biased placements of right-wing parties (Curini, 2010) or knowledge differences among experts contributing to overly centrist placements (Gemenis and Van Ham, 2014). Here, we focus on a separate but related question that concerns expert survey data: whether expert placements of parties are comparable across countries. Put differently, does an expert on the French or Swedish party system think of concepts such as left and right the same way as an expert on British parties when both are asked to place the parties of their respective countries on an economic left–right scale? As Benoit and Laver (2007: 94) argue, “what experts do have in mind when they talk about left and right, in terms of substantive policy dimensions, varies in intuitively plausible ways from country to country.” The political space underlying the substantive policy dimension may differ across individual experts, countries or regions. Benoit and Laver (2007) stress the importance of comparing expert survey-based estimates of party positions with other independent left–right scales. However, even if expert-based estimates correlate highly with other measures of left–right, these correlations do not necessarily mean that the expert surveys are free of expert, country, or other context-specific bias in their responses. Thus, we need to examine the cross-national comparability of expert placements. Research on European Parliament (EP) party group formation and durability provides a specific example for when this cross-national comparability is necessary. As EP power grows relative to other EU institutions (Hix and Høyland, 2013), it becomes increasingly important to understand party behavior in this supranational legislature. National parties join party groups in the EP that are composed of parties with similar policy positions, and when parties switch group affiliation they do so in an attempt to minimize positional incongruence (McElroy and Benoit, 2010, 2012). Scholars of the EP therefore require measurements of party positions that they can confidently assert are cross-nationally comparable. Survey vignettes, which are designed to identify and ultimately correct situations when survey respondents interpret identical questions differently, provide a method of directly measuring the incomparability of responses to survey questions with ordinal response categories (King and Wand, 2007; King et al., 2004). The 2010 Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES) implemented this method by presenting country specialists with three hypothetical vignette parties described by short vignettes. Experts from all survey countries placed these vignette parties on an 11 point economic left–right scale, which allows the analyst to identify potential incomparability in the experts’ placement of the actual parties in the survey. With these vignettes, we can assess, for example, whether a 7 in Sweden is a 7 in the United Kingdom. Our results indicate that experts across Europe are strikingly consistent in their ordering of the vignette parties. Although limited cross-national differences in measurement do exist, taken on the whole, our findings are consistent with those showing that expert placements provide reliable and valid measures of left–right party positions (Benoit and Laver, 2007; Hooghe et al., 2010). Our analysis shows that most experts included in this sample use “left–right” in a similar way. These findings are thus an important step forward in establishing expert surveys as a rigorous instrument for measuring party positions over time and across countries. We begin the article by summarizing the anchoring vignettes approach, and then introduce the 2010 CHES. After briefly discussing the validity and reliability of the survey, we focus our attention on expert placements of the three vignette parties. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for the use of expert surveys in cross-national studies of political parties.

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First lines : Four Eastern European go vernments have rejected European Union refugee quotas. But inside each country, there are different views on the migrant crisis and immigration in general. My research into these countries’ political divisions explains that these differences have to do with how different political camps developed after the fall of Communism.

in Party Politics Publié en 2018-02
POLK Jonathan
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In Europe, noneconomic political issues are seen as secondary but significant aspects of political competition. There is uncertainty, however, about the sources of the varying relationships between economic and cultural politics. This article explains the variance in the correlation of the economic and cultural dimensions in different party systems through the impact of historical religious conflict. Despite the rise of new cultural issues, historical religious divides strikingly predict the relative distinctiveness of the sociocultural dimension in today’s Europe. By demonstrating that economic conflicts did not always supersede religious divides, but were at times brought into standing religious cleavages, we deepen the understanding of cleavage formation and longevity, and dimensional structure of politics in Europe.

Reforms affecting the independence of courts and the media in Hungary and Poland have received significant attention in recent months. But to what extent do these developments constitute a genuine shift in the nature of Hungarian and Polish politics? Jan Rovny writes that while both countries have witnessed a rise in support for parties with anti-democratic tendencies, the dynamics of party competition remain consistent with the liberal-conservative political divide that has characterised the politics of these countries since the fall of communism. [First lines]

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