Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn
Chapter 11: Multilevel party competition: a theory of territorial contagion
Substate nationalist and regionalist parties have grown in size and strength across Western Europe over the last 20 years. They have entered government at multiple levels, pursued sophisticated demands for territorial empowerment and pushed the issue of decentralisation of state structures. They are responsible for elevating party competition on the territorial cleavage above that of the class cleavage. The chapter makes the argument that substate nationalist and regionalist parties can be understood as ‘contagious parties’ in multilevel party systems. They are exerting a formidable influence on the territorial positions of other parties, encouraging them to more strongly defend territorial interests and pursue enhanced forms of self-determination. Territorial contagion has a stronger impact on centre-left parties than on centre-right parties, works mainly at the substate level, affects parties in government more strongly than parties in opposition, and has more apparent effects on programmatic discourses than on organisational adaptation.
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