The Transformation of European Social Democracy

Herbert Kitschelt
New York: Cambridge University Press

This book explains the contrasting strategies of social democratic parties and their electoral fortunes in the major European democracies in the 1970s and 1980s. Going beyond approaches that focus on the influence of class structures and political economic institutions, Herbert Kitschelt analyzes a party's competitive situation in the electoral arena, the constraints and opportunities of party organization, and ideological legacies to explain the strategic choices made by social democratic parties and their electoral results. Social democracy is far from being doomed to decline, but its success depends on its ability to transform its political message and construct new electoral coalitions.