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Political PartiesOld Concepts and New Challenges$
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Richard Gunther, José Ramón Montero, and Juan J. Linz

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246742.001.0001

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Parties: Denied, Dismissed, or Redundant? a Critique

Parties: Denied, Dismissed, or Redundant? a Critique

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 Parties: Denied, Dismissed, or Redundant? a Critique
Source:
Political Parties
Author(s):

Hans Daalder

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199246742.003.0002

Hans Daalder systematically analyses writings since the beginning of the twentieth century that have dealt with an alleged ‘crisis of parties’, or, as described since the 1970s, ‘party decline’. He criticizes the normative or ideological pseudoconcepts used implicitly or explicitly in this literature in generally negative assessments of the status of parties in Western Europe. The term ‘crisis of parties’, he finds, was commonly used as a euphemism to reflect a rejection of parties in general, or a party in particular, and he argues that in the debate on the crisis of party, at least four different bodies of writing are intermingled, which should be clearly distinguished. The chapter is devoted to discussing these: the first set of literature, which Daalder calls ‘denial of party’, denies a legitimate role for party, and sees parties as a threat to the good society; the second set of literature, called ‘the selective rejection of party’, incorporates the views of those who regard certain types of parties as ‘good’ but other types of parties as ‘bad’; the third set of literature, called ‘the selective rejection of party systems’, contains writings that propose that certain party systems are ‘good’ and others are ‘bad’; the last set of literature, called ‘the redundancy of party’, incorporates the views of those who regard parties as a transient phenomenon—products of a period of past mass mobilization—now becoming increasingly irrelevant in democratic politics as other actors and institutions have taken over the major functions that parties once played.

Keywords:   crisis of parties, democracy, denial of party, literature, party decline, party legitimacy, party systems, political parties, redundancy of party, rejection of party, rejection of party systems, Western Europe

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