The Irish Party System : A Criticism of Sartori's Contradictory Approach

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Gatley, David Alan (1979)
  • Subject: J | JN

The idea for writing this dissertation came to me after reading Giovanni Sartori's book,\ud "Parties and Party Systems". In reading this book it soon became obvious to me that\ud Sartori's ideas about Eire (The Irish Republic) are, to say the least, contradictory.\ud The purpose then of this dissertation was to attempt to test how well Sartori's model of\ud party systems could be applied to the Irish case. That is, to answer the question: does\ud the conceptual framework devised by Sartori for studying party systems adequately\ud describe the party system in Eire?\ud Sartori outlines his analysis of party systems in two sources: his book, 'Parties and Party\ud Systems; A Framework for Analysts.' New York 1976, Chapter 5, and in Typology of\ud Party Systems - Proposals for Improvement in Rokkan and Allardt, eds., 'Mass Politics;\ud Studies in Political Sociology', Free Press 1970. All my references to Sartori in this\ud dissertation are taken from the former work.\ud In carrying out my research I devised a questionnaire which I sent to Irish T.D's\ud (Teachta Dála, members of the Dail) and party candidates at the last (1977) general\ud election in Eire. The detailed results of this survey need not concern us in the main body\ud of this dissertation, but the interested reader will find a detailed breakdown of the\ud results in the appendix at the end of this work.\ud In layout the dissertation takes the following form: Chapter One briefly explains the\ud model of party systems, in competitive polities, devised by Sartori; Chapter Two is an\ud introduction to the party system in Eire, and a brief look at the contradictory manner in\ud which Sartori analyses the Irish party system; Chapter Three looks at the Irish party\ud system as an example of limited pluralism; Chapter Four concerns itself with a\ud discussion of moderate pluralism - one of the two categories into which Sartori places\ud Eire; Chapter Five is a brief interruption in the narrative necessitated by the need to\ud outline my research findings; Chapter Six, drawing on the survey data, seeks to see\ud whether Eire is a case of moderate pluralism; Chapter Seven looks at Eire as a case of\ud predominant pluralism; Chapter Eight examines Sartori's contention that Eire does not\ud have a two-party system. Finally, in the conclusion, the divergent threads of Sartori's\ud approaches are brought together in an attempt to examine whether Eire's party system\ud can be said to conform to the various types of party system hypothesised by Sartori.
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