Political Parties and Community Organising in an Era of Membership Decline

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Anika GAUJA , Sydney University, University of Sydney, Australia
At a time when formal party memberships are declining across advanced industrial democracies, political parties are experimenting with new ways to re-engage members and reach out to party supporters. Adapted from the experience of American party organisations and campaigns, political parties in the United Kingdom have adopted community organising techniques as a means to address the resource and linkage implications of declining party memberships and to engage supporters (and not just party members) in the community. This paper analyses the character of and motivation for these techniques, how they have been implemented by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and considers some of the implications for political parties as membership organisations.