The seminal work of Lipset and Rokkan, which explores how party systems evolved organically from nineteenth-century roots, has generally been applied in states which have enjoyed a long-standing territorial identity. Their model's emphasis on stability and predictability can, however, be reconciled with circumstances where the very identity of the state itself is an issue. This article explores the capacity of the model to explain party divisions in three nested contexts: the pre-1922 United Kingdom, which encountered problems with its Celtic peripheries, and especially with Ireland; independent Ireland, where a unique party system developed, largely in response to a broader historical and geographical context; and Northern Ireland, where party politics fossilised in the 1880s, and began to unfreeze only in the 1970s. The article argues that the Lipset–Rokkan model casts valuable light on these processes, which in turn contribute to the theoretical richness of the model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science