From class to region: how regionalist parties link (and subsume) left-right into centre-periphery politics

E. Massetti*, A.H. Schakel

*Corresponding author for this work

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The primary dimension of political contestation for regionalist parties is the centre-periphery dimension but they are pressured to adopt positions on the left-right dimension by competition with state-wide parties. We argue that the relative economic position of a region is a key variable for explaining how regionalist parties adopt left-right positions and link them to the centre-periphery dimension. Based on a quantitative analysis of 74 regionalist parties - distributed in 49 regions and 11 countries - over four decades, we find strong evidence that regionalist parties acting in relatively rich regions tend to adopt a rightist ideology, while regionalist parties acting in relatively poor regions tend to adopt a leftist ideology. A qualitative illustration of two paradigmatic cases, the Lega Nord (LN) and the Scottish National Party (SNP), appears to support our interpretation that left-right orientations are subsumed into centre-periphery politics through the adoption of two ideal types of regionalist discourse: one labelled as bourgeois regionalism' (Harvie, 1994) and one labelled as internal colonialism' (Hechter, 1975).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-886
JournalParty Politics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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