The Decline of Party?

Gordon Smith

in Governing Europe

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199250158
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599439 | DOI:
 The Decline of Party?

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The question of party political decline is approached by examining four aspects that have featured prominently in debate: parties as representative agencies; party organization; parties in relation to the state and society; and parties in their ‘external’ environment. The last aspect includes discussion of the alternatives to party democracy and ‘party deficit’ in the European Union. Since this account is concerned with European developments, the effects of European integration on the role of political parties are particularly relevant. Before the main analysis is undertaken, the chapter takes a brief look at the whole question of party decline in its historical context.

Keywords: European integration; European Union; history; party political decline; political parties and society; political parties and the state; political parties as representative agencies; political parties; political party organization

Chapter.  6987 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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