Adkins, Michael James (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis advances several core arguments surrounding the need for a dynamic and nuanced conceptualisation and multi-dimensional framework to position parties towards European integration; that Europe does play a more important role in European elections than previously thought; that ideology is the strongest predictor of party positions; and finally that the quantitative study of party manifestos produces valid and reliable data for positioning political parties. The study finds that the European issue is the most important in European election manifestos and that parties do exhibit similar behaviour in both national and European elections. Furthermore, it finds that ideology remains an important and strong predictive factor, but its explanatory power diminishes in the analyses towards the newer dimensions of integration (social, cultural, and foreign policy). With the in-depth examination of party positions, it is possible to identify a significantly greater number of Eurosceptic parties using the new definition, that Euroscepticism is now found in all political party families, and that there remains a strong ideological component in the content of their positions towards integration. However, ideology is a stronger predictive factor for the left-wing parties, with those on the right being more fragmented and heterogeneous
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