chapter  1
22 Pages

One-party-dominance in changing societies: Conceptual, methodological and theoretical aspects of the study

Based on an investigation into the party systems of post-war Italy and independent Israel, once treated as prototypes of dominant party systems in Western democracies, Arian and Barnes’ portrayal of the distinctiveness of one-party-dominant systems is a convenient starting point for this study. The fact that both the party systems under examination, as well as systems of one-party-dominance more generally, have defi ed conventional wisdom vis-à-vis the emergence and working of party systems implies a need for alternative political explanatory factors. This is not to deny that more conventional explanatory factors, such as the cleavage structure in a given society or the institutional arrangement in a given polity, have a crucial impact on the unfolding of a party system but, rather, to redirect attention to the role of strictly political factors in the emergence and working of party systems.