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Party and DemocracyThe Uneven Road to Party Legitimacy$
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Piero Ignazi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735854

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198735854.001.0001

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Towards the Final Legitimation of the Party

Towards the Final Legitimation of the Party

(p.59) 3 Towards the Final Legitimation of the Party
Party and Democracy

Piero Ignazi

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 investigates the process of party formation in France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy, and demonstrates the important role of cultural and societal premises for the development of political parties in the nineteenth century. Particular attention is paid in this context to the conditions in which the two mass parties, socialists and Christian democrats, were established. A larger set of Western European countries included in this analysis is thoroughly scrutinized. Despite discontent among traditional liberal-conservative elites, full endorsement of the political party was achieved at the beginning of the twentieth century. Particular attention is paid to the emergence of the interwar totalitarian party, especially under the guise of Italian and German fascism, when ‘the party’ attained its most dominant influence as the sole source and locus of power. The chapter concludes by suggesting hidden and unaccounted heritages of that experience in post-war politics.

Keywords:   party consolidation, mass party, Socialists and Catholics, legitimation, totalitarian party, one-party dominance

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