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Review: Political Parties and the Study of Political Development: New Insights from the Postcommunist Democracies

Reviewed Works: Institutional Design in Post-Communist Societies: Rebuilding the Ship at Sea by Jon Elster, Claus Offe, Ulrich Klaus Preuss; Redeeming the Communist Past: The Regeneration of Communist Parties in East Central Europe by Anna Maria Grzymala-Busse; Post-Communist Party Systems: Competition, Representation, and Inter-Party Cooperation by Herbert Kitschelt, Zdenka Mansfeldova, Radoslaw Markowski, Gábor Tóka; Political Parties after Communism by Tomás Kostelecký; Unexpected Outcomes: Electoral Systems, Political Parties, and Representation in Russia by Robert G. Moser; Learning to Choose: Electoral Politics in East Central Europe by Hubert Tworzecki
Review by: Marcus Kreuzer , Vello Pettai
World Politics
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Jul., 2004), pp. 608-633
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25054277
Page Count: 26
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Political Parties and the Study of Political Development: New Insights from the Postcommunist Democracies
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Abstract

This article reviews the literature on postcommunist parties, which, by applying old Western-based theories to a new and very different context, makes two important contributions to comparative politics. First, the literature stresses the importance of long-term and short-term historical legacies for the institutionalization of parties and electoral alignments; in trying to incorporate such legacies, it offers refinements to works on path dependency and political development. Second, the literature highlights the underinstitutionalization of postcommunist parties and thereby offers new insights-particularly on the party switching of electoral candidates-for studying the formation and consolidation of political parties.

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