Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview
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Irrespective of the particular combination of resources it has--whether, for instance, it is heavily reliant on money rather than on activists--a party requires an organization (or organizations) to utilize these resources in an effective way. This chapter is concerned with party organization which, as it happens, was one of the first subjects to be studied by the founders of political science: the work of both Ostrogorski and Michels (at the beginning of the twentieth century) was a major influence in the development of the discipline. 1 Nor is it mere coincidence that party organization should have been of such concern to that generation of political scientists: it was all too obvious to them that the growth of extensive party structures had been one of the main developments in the process of democratization in industrializing societies.This chapter is concerned with four aspects of party organizations:
first, it considers the question of how and why there are both similarities and variations in the form of organization found in different parties;
secondly, it examines the resources available to party organizations and how change in the availability of some resources is affecting political parties;
thirdly, it considers an issue originally raised by Michels--who controls a party organization and its resources;
finally, and rather briefly, it looks at what party organizations actually do today.


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