Parties As Membership Organizations : A Longitudinal Perspective

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
RC18 Political Sociology (host committee)

Language: English

From the 1990s onwards, much of the empirical literature on party membership has focused on longitudinal trends in aggregate country-level membership figures (Mair and van Biezen, 2001; van Biezen, Mair and Poguntke, 2011; Whiteley, 2011). A recurrent conclusion of these studies has been party membership decline.
Framed within the context of theoretical debates on party decline (Dalton and Wattenberg, 2000) and erosion of conventional political participation (Quintelier and Marien, 2011), the decline in party membership figures has been considered as an evidence of a decreasing influence of political parties on citizens’ behaviour (Reiter, 1989). These studies bring forward systemic institutional or structural explanations for this decline (Norris, 2002).
However, when disaggregating the figures, at the party level, the trends are far less linear (Delwit, 2011; Kölln, 2014). All parties do not face the same difficulties in recruiting and mobilizing members. This calls for other explanatory factors of membership fluctuations. 
This regular session panel calls for comparative papers testing alternative explanations for membership fluctuations, including short-term factors (electoral and governmental cycles) and party-level factors (party age, party family, party organizational features).
Session Organizer:
Giulia SANDRI, Université Catholique de Lille, France
New Leaders, New Members? the Impact of Party Leadership Renewal on Party Membership
Giulia SANDRI, Universite Catholique de Lille, France; Antonella SEDDONE, Université Catholique de Lille, France
Party Membership in Brazil: Age and Polity Size in a Longitudinal Perspective (1980-2014)
Pedro J. FLORIANO RIBEIRO, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Luis LOCATELLI, Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil
Does the Adoption of Inclusive Selectorates Influence Party Membership?
Ofer KENIG, Ashkelon Academic College, Israel; Gideon RAHAT, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Shaping New Parties' Legitimacy: Members and Organization in Post-Accession Countries. Insights from Hungary and Romania
Sorina SOARE, University of Florence, Italy; Alexandra IONASCU, University of Bucharest, Romania
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