Rowman and Littlefield International

Parties and Party Systems

A Framework for Analysis

By Giovanni Sartori

In this rich and broad-ranging volume, Giovanni Sartori outlines what is now recognised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative approach to the classification of party systems

Hardback ISBN: 9781785522611 Release date: Aug 2016
£65.00 €90.00 $100.00
Paperback ISBN: 9780954796617 Release date: Jul 2016
£30.00 €41.00 $49.00

Pages: 368

ECPR Press

In this rich and broad-ranging volume, Giovanni Sartori outlines what is now recognised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative approach to the classification of party systems. He also offers an extensive review of the concept and rationale of the political party, and develops a sharp critique of various spatial models of party competition. This is political science at its best – combining the intelligent use of theory with sophisticated analytic arguments, and grounding all of this on a substantial cross-national empirical base. Parties and Party Systems is one of the classics of postwar political science, and is now established as the foremost work in its field.


Tables and Figures vii

Abbreviations ix

New preface by the author xi

Introduction by Peter Mair xiii



Chapter one: The party as part3

1. From faction to party3

2. Pluralism12

3. Responsible and responsive government16

4. A rationalisation21

Chapter two: The party as whole35

1. No-party versus one-party35

2. The party-state system38

3. One-party pluralism42

Chapter three: The preliminary framework50

1. Channelment, communication, expression50

2. The minimal definition52

3. An overview57

Chapter four: The party from within63

1. Fractions, factions, and tendencies63

2. A scheme of analysis66

3. Southern politics: ‘Factions’ without parties?72

4. Italy and Japan: Fractions within parties78

5. The structure of opportunities82

6. From party to faction92


Chapter five: The numerical criterion105

1. The issue105

2. Rules for counting107

3. A two-dimensional mapping110

Chapter six: Competitive systems116

1. Polarised pluralism116

2. Testing the cases128

3. Moderate pluralism and segmented societies154

4. Twoparty systems164

5. Predominant-party systems171

Chapter seven: Non-competitive systems193

1. Where competition ends193

2. Single party197

3. Hegemonic party204

Chapter eight: Fluid polities and quasi-parties217

1. Methodological cautions217

2. The African labyrinth221

3. Ad hoc categorising226

4. The boomerang effect236

Chapter nine: The overall framework243

1. System change, continuum, and discontinuities243

2. Mapping function and explanatory power251

3. From classification to measurement261

4. Measuring relevance267

5. Numbers and size: The index of fractionalisation271

6. Combining the nominal and mathematical routes281

Chapter ten: Spatial competition289

1. The Downsian theory revisited289

2. Issues, identification, images, and positions292

3. Multidimensional, unidimensional, and ideological space297

4. The direction of competition305


Giovanni Sartori was born in Florence, Italy, in 1924, and was appointed Professor of Political Science at the University of Florence in 1963. He has been a visiting Professor at Harvard and Yale, and in 1976 he succeeded Gabriel Almond as Professor of Political Science at Stanford. In 1979 he was appointed Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, New York, where he is now Professor Emeritus. Sartori is the author of numerous books across a range of fields in political theory and comparative politics, including Parties and Party Systems (1976), The Theory of Democracy Revisited (2 volumes, 1990), and Comparative Constitutional Engineering (2nd ed, 1997). His most recent books are Homo Videns (2nd ed, 2000), Pluralismo, Multiculturalismo, Estranei (2nd ed, 2002), and Mala Tempora (2004), which has been a bestseller in Italy. In 2005, Parties and Party Systems was also published in a Chinese translation.

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