Political Oppositions In Western Democracies

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The idea that the opposition has a right to organize and to appeal for votes against the government in elections and in parliament is one of the most important milestones in the development of democratic institutions. Mr. Dahl and nine collaborators analyze the role of the opposition in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.In introductory and concluding chapters, Dahl compares the patterns of opposition in these countries and makes predictions for the future.He carries forward on the basis of this evidence the theory of a pluralistic society he has explored in earlier books such as Who Governs?
Mr. Dahl is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. His collaborators are Samuel Barnes, Hans Daalder, Frederick Engelmann, Alfred Grosser, Otto Kirchheimer, Val R. Lorwin, Allen Potter, Stein Rokkan, and Nils Stjernquist.
This stately volume is distinguished by several unusual features. First, it straightforwardly focuses on a crucial issue of Comparative Politics without being vitiated by the familiar behaviorist semantics and jargon. Secondly, contrary to the ubiquitous trend in this country, flooded by discussionmore journalistic than scientificon the emergent states, it centers on constitutional democracy in Western Europe, a region which for a decade and more had been badly neglected by the rampant computerizers. Thirdly, for the ten countries under discussion Professor Dahl was fortunate to enlist the services of genuine experts, the majority of whom are specialists in their field. . . . On the whole the volume is one of the major contributions to Comparative Politics that have appeared in this country for some time. The study of the issue as such as well as of the individual reviews is highly rewarding. Karl Loewenstein, The Annals.

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