Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 20, Issue 1

Fernando Casal Bertoa, "Party systems and cleavage structures revisited: A sociological explanation of party system institutionalization in East Central Europe," Party Politics, 20 (January 2014), 16-36. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
(second paragraph) In contrast to this scholarship, and notwithstanding the volatile character of the post-communist electorate, this article constitutes an attempt to discover the social roots of party system institutionalization in East Central Europe. In fact, and linking mainly with Evans and Whitefield (2000) and Kitschelt et al.'s (1999) tradition, the main aim of this work is to examine how cleavage formation and development relates to different levels of institutionalization in new post-communist party systems.1 The article is divided in four parts. Section one offers an analytical perspective on the conceptualization of cleavage and party system institutionalization. Some of the scholarly debate on the concept is addressed briefly, showing how certain aspects of these two notions have led to a certain amount of confusion and misunderstanding within the literature. Section two summarizes some of the most important arguments advanced by scholars in the course of the 'sociology of politics' debate, examining how well they travel through a test of their validity in four East Central European democracies. Section three contains several new propositions concerning the possible implications the different mode of cleavage formation and development may have for the institutionalization of party systems. Finally, section four analyses the causal mechanisms linking cleavage structuration and party system institutionalization in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Criteria and operational indicators of party system institutionalization.
Table 2. Party system institutionalization in East Central Europe (1990-2009).
Table 1. Criteria and operational indicators of party system institutionalization.
Table 2. Party system institutionalization in East Central Europe (1990-2009).
Table 3. Fractionalization data.
Table 4. Number of 'issue' dimensions, cleavages and party system fragmentation/institutionalization.
Table 5. Legacies, types of cleavage and party system competition.
Table 6. 'Predominant' cleavage type and party system institutionalization.
Table 7. Cleavage strength and party system institutionalization.*
Table 8. Cleavages, competitive dimensions and party system institutionalization.
Figure 1. Cleavages and approximate placement of political parties (1995-2009).
Figure 2. Economic cleavage and approximate placement of political parties.
Figure 3. Religious and post-communist divides and approximate placement of political parties (1993-2009).
Figures 4 and 5. Cleavages and approximate placement of political parties (1993-2009).
Figures 6 to 11. Cleavages and approximate placement of political parties (1991-2009).
Table 9. Cleavage cross-cuttingness and party system institutionalization.

Last Paragraph:
(First paragrap of conclusion) In this article, and following the steps of the sociological approach initiated by Lipset and Rokkan's (1967) seminal work, I have tried to examine how a nation's cleavage structure affects the process of party system institutionalization. Using Bartolini and Mair's (1990) rather strict concept of 'cleavage', and distinguishing three main cleavages in Hungary and Poland, two in Slovakia and one in the Czech Republic, I have presented the most important scholarly theories linking both cleavage formation and development with party system institutionalization. An in-depth analysis of the first three most important hypotheses led to the watertight conclusion that neither the number nor the type nor the strength of a cleavage is associated with the degree of party system institutionalization in East Central Europe.

Last updated March 2014