Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies
This introductory chapter describes the aim of the book and the scope and framework of the analysis it presents. It distinguishes three broad types of research inquiry into the performance and standing of political parties: (1) studies focusing on party connections with the electorate (e.g. partisan dealignment, electoral volatility, membership change); (2) studies examining the development of party organizations over time; and (3) studies investigating aspects of party performance on behalf of the wider political system. Accordingly, each of the country case studies in the following 13 chapters are divided into the same three sections, plus an introduction, and a conclusion. These three sections cover: the popular legitimacy of parties; party organizational strength; and the systemic functionality of parties—which addresses governance and political recruitment, interest articulation and aggregation, political participation, and political communication and education.
Keywords: case studies, governance, interest aggregation, interest articulation, party functionality, party legitimacy, party organization, party performance, political communication, political education, political participation, political parties, political recruitment, political system
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