The Radical Left Party Family in Western Europe, 1989-2015  book cover
1st Edition

The Radical Left Party Family in Western Europe, 1989-2015

ISBN 9780367595968
Published August 13, 2020 by Routledge
244 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides an innovative analysis and interpretation of the overall trajectory of the Western European radical left from 1989 to 2015. After the collapse of really existing communism, this party family renewed itself and embarked on a recovery path, seeking to fill the vacuum of representation of disaffected working-class and welfarist constituencies created by the progressive neoliberalisation of European societies. The radical left thus emerged as a significant factor of contemporary political life but, despite some electoral gains and a few recent breakthroughs (SYRIZA in Greece, PODEMOS in Spain), it altogether failed to embody a credible alternative to neoliberalism and to pave the way for a turn to a different developmental model.

This book investigates why this was the case, combining aggregate (17 countries), case study (Germany, Italy, and France), and comparative methods. It accurately charts the evolution of the nature, strength, cohesion, and influence of the Western European radical left, offering new insights in explaining its behaviour, success, and limits. It is essential reading for scholars, students, and activists interested in the radical left and in contemporary European politics.

Table of Contents


1. Toward an analysis of the contemporary Western European radical left

2. The Western European landscape, 1914–1988

3. The Western European landscape, 1989–2015

4. The German radical left: a success story5. The Italian radical left: the story of a failure

6. The French radical left: success or failure?

7. Filling the vacuum? The trajectory of the contemporary radical left in Western Europe



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Paolo Chiocchetti holds a PhD in European Studies from King´s College London. He is a Research Associate at the University of Luxembourg.


"I believe that what Chiocchetti’s careful and very detailed reconstruction does is to highlights the great differentiation among partisan subjects who would like to be grouped into a single family."

Carlo Baccetti, University of Florence, The Professional Review of the Italian Political Science Association

"...its contribution goes beyond the bounds of academia insofar as it provides not only a comprehensive and freely available database with temporally homogenized data on party strength of several European radical left parties operationalized based on electoral, governance, and membership strengths (both in term of absolute and weighted strengths), but also a sophisticated methodology that we can apply to other cases to broaden our understanding of the evolution and prospects of radical left in western Europe."

Babak Amini, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, New Political Science