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Professor Stephen Whitefield awarded Nuffield Foundation Small Grant

Professor Stephen Whitefield has been awarded funding through the Nuffield Foundation for his project ‘Reconsidering Party Divisions in Western Europe: Lessons from the New Democracies of Central and Eastern Europe`. The project began on 1st September 2007 and will run for a year.

Studies of party competition in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have drawn extensively on West European experience. However, research by Stephen and Robert Rohrschneider (Indiana University) on post-Communist parties suggests that important beliefs about Western Europe may need reconsideration. Analysing expert survey data from 13 CEE states (Nuffield Foundation-funded study, 2003, part-replicated in the 2007 EC-funded ‘Eurequal` study (http://eurequal.politics.ox.ac.uk/), Whitefield and Rohrschneider uncovered a different pattern to party competition from that found in the existing literature. This pattern were only observable, however, because the researchers` uncertainty about party competition in new democracies led them to design more open-ended measurement of party stances on policy issues than has been the norm in ‘established` West European studies. They therefore sought and obtained funding to administer a West European expert survey that will enable them to reconsider the policy divisions underlying party competition in that context and to make direct comparisons with parties in CEE.

Stephen Whitefield is Professor of Politics, University Lecturer in Politics, and Rhodes Pelczynski Tutorial Fellow in Politics, Pembroke College