Chapter

Party Membership and Party Representativeness

Anders Widfeldt

in Citizens and the State

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294733
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599699 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294735.003.0005

Series: Beliefs in Government

 Party Membership and Party Representativeness

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The analysis is based on the conception of political parties as participatory and/or representative linkages between the public and their governments. Its main purpose is to investigate how the parties match up to their linkage role. Some findings are rather discouraging—membership levels are often low, and memberships can be socially unrepresentative, tending to be more extreme than the base of party supporters. Other findings are less negative—there has been no sharp drop overall in party membership, and the ideological gap between party members and party supporters is not that wide. Although there must be a question mark about how well the parties are functioning as participatory linkages, there is no evidence of acute crisis.

Keywords: party membership; party representativeness

Chapter.  14584 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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