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Jocelyn A. J. Evans, "In Defence of Sartori: Party System Change, Voter Preference Distributions and Other Competitive Incentives," Party Politics, 8 (March, 2002), 155-174.

First Paragraph:
Recent work on party systems, building principally on the Sartori and Lijphart models, has attempted to provide evaluations of these respective approaches, critique their perceived failings and offer more satisfactory reconceptualizations either to correct theoretical flaws or to update perspectives which are less appropriate to contemporary system developments (von Beyme, 1985; Ware, 1996; Mair, 1997; Pennings, 1998; Donovan and Broughton, 1999). The work by Pennings epitomizes such developments, providing a comparison of three existing typologies &endash; Sartori, von Beyme and Lijphart -- and is the most comprehensive in testing their assertions using a number of empirical indicators. He finds that, considering such indicators as volatility, polarization, convergence and duration of government, the Lijphart typology generally outperforms that of Sartori, correctly predicting as it does changes in party system format over a period from the 1950s to the 1980s, and that many of the latter's predictions and assumptions are flawed. His resolution is to combine the better aspects of both typologies into a single framework.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Total volatility in Norway and Sweden
Table 2. Total volatility and core party share of vote in polarized pluralist systems
Table 3. Total and block volatility in the French Fourth and Fifth Republics
Table 4. Total and bloc volatility in French Third Republic; shifts in individual party scores (1932--6)
Figure 1. Hypothetical balanced two-party and polarized pluralist systems

Last Paragraph:
It is fitting that the competitive mechanics are left until the final chapter of Sartori's book, inasmuch as it is evident that future developments need to use the individual preference structures and party strategies therein as a starting-point. If, then, the party system typology is to be reformulated, a combination of the Lijphart and Sartori versions would of course lead to a broader theory. Yet the most fundamental lesson to be drawn is the emphasis that should be given to the role of individual voter preferences and competitivity within the different systems. In returning to Ersson and Lane's conclusion that volatility is up in all European systems, the reduction in socio-organizational bonds is undoubtedly the principal factor in this trend, and if the role of party agency is assuming greater primacy as some authors argue (e.g. Katz and Mair, 1994) the role of competitive space as defined by the interaction between party arrays and voter distributions becomes even more crucial in studying the dynamics of party systems. Whatever their basis, the fundamental types and direction of competition identified by Sartori in these systems are destined to persist.