chapter  2
Searching for the positions of political actors: a review of approaches and a critical evaluation of expert surveys
ByPETER MAIR
Pages 21

This chapter offers an overview of the attempts that have been made to locate the positions of political actors in policy and/or ideological spaces over the past twenty-five years or so. I claim neither to review all of the relevant literature, nor to explore all of methodologies involved. What I try to do is identify the main strands of research and comment on their limitations and possibilities. The assumption is that the various attempts to define abstract policy and/or ideological spaces and to locate political actors in these are driven by the imperatives of comparative research. In themselves, these approaches offer little to scholars interested only in understanding a single case. Following Sartori’s (1970) usage, the attempt to define a policy and/or ideological space involves moving up the ladder of abstraction, and this makes sense only if the goal is to establish concepts and measures that can travel.