How much does Germany's past weigh upon party politics in the Federal Republic today? Should phenomena such as disillusionment with the democratic process and the rise of right-wing parties be considered more worrying in Germany than in other advanced industrial democracies? And, ultimately, what are political parties for? Charles Lees addresses these and other questions and assesses the balance between the dominant paradigm of Germany's 'special path' (Sonderweg) of political and economic development and the commonalities shared between Germany and other advanced democracies. Party Politics in Germany is the only English-language study of its kind and examines the phenomenon of party politics in the Federal Republic through comparison across time and space. It draws upon on a more explicitly comparative literature than is generally found in single-country studies in order not only to shed new light on Germany but also to allow students of the comparative method to apply some of the key concepts, models and approaches with which they are familiar to the rich context of a single country study. In doing this Lees problematises the trade-off in such studies between depth and breadth, micro-and macro-level explanation, rich description and abstraction, inductive and deductive reasoning, and so on.

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