Political parties are alleged to be turning their backs to civil society; they are said to discourage the active participation of their members and to distance themselves from the privileged relations to affiliated social organisations they once prized. Instead, parties are broadly believed to be directing their efforts towards capturing government office and the resources that come with it, neglecting linkage to their social roots. Transformations of the Radical Left in Southern Europe questions this widely shared view. Exploring the social linkage strategies of the most relevant radical left parties in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus in depth, this book demonstrates that the members of the European radical left party family continue to prioritise social linkage, despite their increasingly office-seeking orientation. Between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the current economic crisis they have been tirelessly experimenting with diverse new forms of party organisation that have enabled them to return to their social roots. The main lesson drawn from the studies in this book is that party ideology and a party’s position in the national political arena go a long way towards explaining the extent to which political parties prioritise social linkage.
This book was published as a special issue of South European Society and Politics.
1. ‘Zippin’ up My Boots, Goin’ Back to My Roots’: Radical Left Parties in Southern Europe Myrto Tsakatika and Marco Lisi 2. Rediscovering civil society? Renewal and Continuity in the Portuguese Radical Left Marco Lisi 3. Impulse and Decadence of Linkage Processes: Evidence from the Spanish Radical Left Luis Ramiro and Tània Verge 4. Renewal and Tradition: Comparing Italian Radical Left Parties through their Middle-Level Elites Paola Bordandini 5. The Radical Left’s Turn towards Civil Society in Greece: One Strategy, Two Paths Myrto Tsakatika and Costas Eleftheriou 6. A Society within Society: Linkage in the Case of the Cypriot Communist Party George Charalambous and Christophoros Christophorou
The parallel regime transitions of the 1970s, when Southern Europe was the vanguard of the ‘third wave’ of democratisation, the impact of EU membership and Europeanisation and more recently, the region’s central role in the eurozone crisis have all made Southern Europe a distinctive area of interest for social science scholars. The South European Society and Politics book series promotes new empirical research into the domestic politics and society of South European states. The series, open to a broad range of social science approaches, offers comparative thematic volumes covering the region as a whole and on occasion, innovative single-country studies. Its geographical scope includes both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Southern Europe, defined as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey.