Toward the “real world” of government coalition
This article, which introduces this special issue of Politix about government coalitions, proposes a critical survey of the main studies in this active field of political sciences. In the first part, we show how coalition theory has been developed as (something of) a self-containing field of study since the pioneering works of William Riker. This work, which is marked by the influence of positivism and rational choice paradigms, has influenced most of the later coalition studies. Recently, many stimulating developments have taken into account new variables and refined the analysis in order to analyze coalition governance. In the second part, we argue that, despite this evolution, only a radical shift toward a sociological approach of coalitions enables improved knowledge on “coalition life” and “coalition governance.” The papers gathered in this Politix issue, based on various field studies, show that this sociological shift opens up new paths of research (subjective experience of coalition, coalitions’ inclination to autonomy).