Finland's modern, technologically advanced welfare state is, in fact, a fairly recent creation, because the social changes that led to it occurred in Finland much later than elsewhere in the West. Once underway, however, such changes took place with unprecedented speed. This book is the story of what happens to parties, governments and voters when the fundamental features that conditioned party formation and voter alignments undergo rapid change. It is this that makes the Finnish case interesting and, as far as possible, this book examines Finland in a comparative perspective. Karvonen's study is based on a wealth of new primary evidence. It demonstrates that Finland is indeed a special case in certain respects, especially when it comes to the attenuation of ideological rivalry and the recurrent waves of populist protest.