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Party System ChangeApproaches and Interpretations$
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Peter Mair

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198295499.001.0001

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Popular Legitimacy and Public Privileges: Party Organizations in Civil Society and the State

Popular Legitimacy and Public Privileges: Party Organizations in Civil Society and the State

Chapter:
(p.120) 6 Popular Legitimacy and Public Privileges: Party Organizations in Civil Society and the State
Source:
Party System Change
Author(s):

Peter Mair (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198295499.003.0006

This is the second of two chapters on political party organizations and party systems. It discusses political party organizations in civil society and the state, with reference to western Europe. Although the study of parties and party systems is one of the largest and most active subfields within comparative politics, very little empirically grounded study has been made of parties as organizations, and there are severe limits to the comparative understanding of precisely how party organizations work, how they change, and how they adapt. This chapter looks at some of these issues. The discussion is presented in five sections: (1) New Perspectives on the Development of Party Organizations; (2) Party Democracies and the Problem of Party Decline; (3) Parties and the State; and (4) Changing Parties; and (5) Parties and Their Privileges –– a brief examination of the imbalance between popular irreverence and public privilege cited by Tocqueville as contributing to the downfall of the French ancien regime, but here applied to political parties.

Keywords:   civil society, development of party organizations, party decline, party democracies, party organizations, political parties, popular legitimacy, public privileges, state, western Europe, western party systems

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