Political Parties and Interest Groups: Shaping Democratic Governance

Political Parties and Interest Groups: Shaping Democratic Governance

Political Parties and Interest Groups: Shaping Democratic Governance

Political Parties and Interest Groups: Shaping Democratic Governance

Synopsis

This study of the political party-interest group relationship - crucial in shaping the characteristics of democratic political systems - provides an in-depth analysis of the connection between special interests and political parties across 13 democracies, including Argentina, Britain and the US.

Excerpt

One of the paradoxes of political science around the world, particularly in liberal democracies, is that broad agreement exists on the importance of the relationship between political parties and interest groups but little research has been conducted on that relationship. By drawing on the experiences of thirteen countries—old established democracies, new ones, and some in transition to democracy—this book provides the first general analysis of the party-group relationship in liberal democracies.

Some studies have been conducted on specific aspects of party-group relations within particular democracies and across Western countries, mainly on the competition between parties and groups for members and on the decline of major parties in the face of expanding numbers of interest groups, social movements, and third parties. But virtually no studies explain the various elements and assess the significance of the party-group connection within individual liberal democracies, and no comparative study exists of the relationship across Western countries. This book seeks to provide a holistic understanding of the party-group relationship, both within individual democracies and across the Western world.

Within this general, holistic objective, four specific goals can be summarized: (1) Why do some interest groups have relations with political parties while others do not, and for those that do, what determines the type and extent of the relationship? (2) What various forms do party-group relations take in democracies, and can these be developed into a model that includes, among other relationships, the close ties of socialist parties with labor groups, the lack of connection of most groups with parties, and situations where groups and parties conflict? (3) How does the party-group relationship, or lack of it, affect the political system, particularly policymaking and representation? (4) Do general patterns exist across countries that explain the party-group relationship and its consequences in liberal democracies . . .

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