The Party Politics of Decentralization: Theory, Definitions, Research Design, and Methods

  • Linda Basile
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)


In this chapter, the author introduces the main research questions addressed by the volume, framed within the existing literature, and a summary of the study’s main concepts and terminological choices to define and narrow its objective. The chapter devotes itself to the measurement of party strategies based on a coding scheme devised for the content analysis of party manifestos. It also describes the research design adopted and the advantages (as well as the limits) of the case study. The last section outlines the integrated theoretical model adopted in this study to analyze party strategies on decentralization.


  1. Alonso, Sonia. 2012. Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility: A Comparison of Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basile, Linda. 2016. Measuring Party Strategies on the Territorial Dimension: A Method Based on Content Analysis. Regional & Federal Studies 26 (1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benoit, Kenneth, and Michael Laver. 2006. Party Policy in Modern Democracies. 1st ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Caramani, Daniele. 2004. The Nationalization of Politics: The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chaney, Paul. 2013. An Electoral Discourse Approach to State Decentralisation: State-Wide Parties’ Manifesto Proposals on Scottish and Welsh Devolution, 1945–2010. British Politics 8 (3): 333–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collier, David. 1993. The Comparative Method. In Political Science: The State of Discipline II, ed. Ada W. Finifter. Rochester: Social Science Research Network.Google Scholar
  7. De Winter, Lieven, and Huri Türsan. 1998. Regionalist Parties in Western Europe. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Duchacek, Ivo D. 1970. Comparative Federalism: The Territorial Dimension of Politics. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  9. Elias, Anwen, Edina Szöcsik, and Christina Isabel Zuber. 2015. Position, Selective Emphasis and Framing: How Parties Deal with a Second Dimension in Competition. Party Politics 21 (6): 839–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Green-Pedersen, Christoffer. 2007. The Conflict of Conflicts in Comparative Perspective: Euthanasia as a Political Issue in Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Comparative Politics 39 (3): 273–291.Google Scholar
  11. Hooghe, Liesbet, Gary Marks, and Arjan H. Schakel. 2010. The Rise of Regional Authority: A Comparative Study of 42 Democracies. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Hopkin, Jonathan. 2003. Political Decentralization, Electoral Change and Party Organizational Adaptation: A Framework for Analysis. European Urban and Regional Studies 10 (3): 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ———. 2009. Party Matters: Devolution and Party Politics in Britain and Spain. Party Politics 15 (2): 179–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hopkin, Jonathan, and Pieter van Houten. 2009. Decentralization and State-Wide Parties: Introduction. Party Politics 15 (2): 131–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huysseune, Michel. 2002. Federalism and the Extreme Right in Italy. Fédéralisme Régionalisme 2, January.Google Scholar
  16. Jeffery, Charlie, and Dan Hough. 2009. Understanding Post-Devolution Elections in Scotland and Wales in Comparative Perspective. Party Politics 15 (2): 219–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keating, Michael. 2008. Thirty Years of Territorial Politics. West European Politics 31 (1–2): 60–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. STU—Student ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Krippendorff, Klaus. 2004. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Laffin, Martin, Eric Shaw, and Gerald Taylor. 2007. The New Sub-National Politics of the British Labour Party. Party Politics 13 (1): 88–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leonardi, Robert, Raffaella Y. Nanetti, and Robert D. Putnam. 1987. Italy—Territorial Politics in the Post-War Years: The Case of Regional Reform. West European Politics 10 (4): 88–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Libbrecht, Liselotte, Bart Maddens, and Wilfried Swenden. 2013. Party Competition in Regional Elections: The Strategies of State-Wide Parties in Spain and the United Kingdom. Party Politics 19 (4): 624–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lijphart, Arend. 1971. Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method. The American Political Science Review 65 (3): 682–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lipset, Seymour Martin, and Stein Rokkan. 1967. Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  25. Maddens, Bart, and Liselotte Libbrecht. 2009. How Statewide Parties Cope with the Regionalist Issue: The Case of Spain; A Directional Approach. In Territorial Party Politics in Western Europe, 204–228. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marks, Gary, Liesbet Hooghe, and Arjan H. Schakel. 2008a. Measuring Regional Authority. Regional & Federal Studies 18 (2–3): 111–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. ———. 2008b. Patterns of Regional Authority. Regional & Federal Studies 18 (2–3): 167–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Massetti, Emanuele, and Simon Toubeau. 2013. Sailing with Northern Winds: Party Politics and Federal Reforms in Italy. West European Politics 36 (2): 359–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mazzoleni, Martino. 2009a. The Saliency of Regionalization in Party Systems: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Decentralization in Party Manifestos. Party Politics 15 (2): 199–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. ———. 2009b. The Italian Regionalisation: A Story of Partisan Logics. Modern Italy 14 (2): 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meguid, Bonnie M. 2008. Party Competition Between Unequals: Strategies and Electoral Fortunes in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2009. Institutional Change as Strategy: The Role of Decentralization in Party Competition. Toronto: Social Science Research Network.Google Scholar
  33. Protsyk, Oleh, and Stela Garaz. 2013. Politicization of Ethnicity in Party Manifestos. Party Politics 19 (2): 296–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rhodes, R.A.W., and Vincent Wright. 1987. Introduction. West European Politics 10 (4): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rifondazione Comunista. 2001. Un voto utile per il paese per costruire una sinistra di alternativa e una sinistra plurale. Roma: Rifondazione Comunista.Google Scholar
  36. Rokkan, Stein, and Derek W. Urwin. 1983. Economy, Territory, Identity: Politics of West European Peripheries. London/Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Rovny, Jan. 2013. Where Do Radical Right Parties Stand? Position Blurring in Multidimensional Competition. European Political Science Review 5 (1): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2017. Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods. Party Politics, First published online June 16, 2017.Google Scholar
  39. Sartori, Giovanni. 1970. Concept Misinformation in Comparative Politics. The American Political Science Review 64 (4): 1033–1053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schakel, Arjan H. 2009. Explaining Policy Allocation over Governmental Tiers by Identity and Functionality. Acta Politica 44 (4): 385–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sinardet, Dave, and Niels Morsink. 2011. Contamination or Containment? Sub-State Nationalism in Belgian Political Parties’ Electoral Manifestos (not published). Paper Presented at the ECPR General Conference Reykjavik, August 25–27.Google Scholar
  42. Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2015. Everything to Everyone: The Electoral Consequences of the Broad-Appeal Strategy in Europe. American Journal of Political Science 59 (4): 841–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sorens, Jason. 2009. The Partisan Logic of Decentralization in Europe. Regional & Federal Studies 19 (2): 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Strøm, Kaare. 1990. A Behavioral Theory of Competitive Political Parties. American Journal of Political Science 34 (2): 565–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thorlakson, Lori. 2009. Patterns of Party Integration, Influence and Autonomy in Seven Federations. Party Politics 15 (2): 157–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Toubeau, Simon, and Emanuele Massetti. 2013. The Party Politics of Territorial Reforms in Europe. West European Politics 36 (2): 297–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Toubeau, Simon, and Markus Wagner. 2015. Explaining Party Positions on Decentralization. British Journal of Political Science 45 (1): 97–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tronconi, Filippo. 2009. I partiti etnoregionalisti. La politica dell’identità territoriale in Europa occidentale. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  49. Tronconi, Filippo, and Christophe Roux. 2009. The Political Systems of Italian Regions Between State-Wide Logics and Increasing Differentiation. Modern Italy 14 (2): 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Urwin, Derek W. 1983. Harbinger, Fossil or Fleabite? ‘Regionalism’ and the West European Party Mosaic. In Western European Party Systems: Continuity and Change, ed. Hans Daalder and Peter Mair, 221–256. Beverly Hills/London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  51. Van Houten, Pieter. 2009. Multi-Level Relations in Political Parties: A Delegation Approach. Party Politics 15 (2): 137–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Verge, Tània. 2013. Party Strategies on Territorial Reform: State-Wide Parties and the State of Autonomies in Spain. West European Politics 36 (2): 317–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Volkens, Andrea. 2001. Manifesto Coding Instructions, 1st ed. Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fur Sozialforschung.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Basile
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SienaSienaItaly

Personalised recommendations