Path: Table of Contents -> Preface, p. xiii

Kenneth Janda
Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey
New York: The Free Press, 1980

p. xiii

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The issue of comparability has another side to it, however, which is whether observations on the same variables mean the same thing in countries with different cultures. Przeworski and Teune discuss this matter of conceptual equivalence at length and suggest that "the similarity of the $tructure of indicators is the criterion for establishing the equivalence of measurement instruments."5 This volume investigates the interrelationships among the indicators in Chapter 14, but it does not address the issue of conceptual equivalence across cultures. Our preliminary examination of the interrelationships, however, strongly upholds the similarity of structures for parties in different regions of the world, for parties in countries of different levels of industrialization, and for parties with different goal orientations.6 While the issue is not yet settled, this aspect of the validity of the holonational approach to the study of political parties seems encouraging.

As it has finally emerged more than fifteen years after its initial planning, this study represents a considerable investment of funds and a great investment of effort. It is not a perfect study, and it undoubtedly contains many errors of fact and judgment. As in any complex study that depends on the work of many researchers, some of the countries and parties were researched more carefully and competently than others. But, as I have read and checked each and every item in this volume, I must accept responsibility for mistakes above and beyond the traditional assumption of responsibility by any author. I urge readers to communicate to me findings of substantive errors or new information that would lead to the reduction of missing data. I truly hope that this holonational study of 158 political parties in 53 nations, despite its blemishes, gaps, and restrictiveness in time, will induce parties' scholars to be more encompassing in their approaches to the topic, enabling us to make more progress in the next 25 years than we have in the last.

5. Przeworski and Teune (1970), p. 117.
6. Kenneth Janda, 'Conceptual Equivalence and Multiple Indicators in the Cross-National Analysis of Political Parties," paper prepared for the Workshop on Indicators of National Development sponsored by ISSC, UNESCO, and ECPR, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9-14, 1971.

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