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Edited by Henrik Oscarsson and Sören Holmberg

Based on cutting-edge global data, the Research Handbook of Political Partisanship argues that partisanship is down, but not out, in contemporary democracies. Engaging with key scholarly debates, from the rise of right-wing partisanship to the effects of digitalization on partisanship, contributions highlight the significance of political partisanship not only in the present but in the future of democracies internationally.
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Henrik Oscarsson and Sören Holmberg

After a short account of the genealogy of the concept of political partisanship, readers are introduced to the almost overwhelmingly large literature dealing with most aspects of political partisanship. The Handbook contains 28 chapters devoted to the conceptualization, measurement, origins and effects of partisanship. The introductory chapter emphasizes that political partisanship – ties between parties and voters – has an inbuilt potential to be both beneficial and detrimental to the workings of democratic systems, and to serve as helpers and blinders or blinkers to individual citizens. The takeaway from summarizing previous and contemporary research on political partisanship is that the importance of political parties and partisanship for the working of representative democracy cannot be overstated. If parties fail, so will democracy.

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Sören Holmberg and Henrik Oscarsson

The origin and development of party identification, as well as the effects on voting behaviours, are analysed based on data from the Swedish National Elections Studies 1956_2018. Results are contrasted to the developments in the United States (US). Political, not sociological, factors are shaping the levels and change in identifications in Sweden as well as in America. However, in Sweden the strength of party identification has been declining over the last 50 years, while in the US at the same time strong identifiers have become more common. The authors argue that the reason behind this difference is that politics in the US has become more polarized between Democrats and Republicans, while in Sweden conflicts between established parties have become less polarized. Political polarization conditions political partisanship.

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Mathias A. Färdigh, Emma Andersson and Henrik Oscarsson