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ECPR joint sessions of workshops

25/04/2017 - 30/04/2017

3 interesting workshops related more or less to the MAPP project will be held at ECPR Joint sessions.

1) Workshop on “Political Parties as arena for descriptive representation”. Directed by Bram Wauters(Ghent) and Knut Heidar (Oslo)

The crisis of ‘party on the ground’, which refers to the link of the party to the broader society has already been extensively documented in several studies. One aspect that has been underexposed in this kind of research is to what extent party decline has also affected parties’ representative capacity.
This may relate both to descriptive (background) representation and to attitudinal (policy) representation. In political parties, several representative relationships are established, for example between rank and file members and conference delegates, between members and the party elite, between voters and the party elite and between party members and the population at large.
It seems logical that owing to a general decline in membership figures, also this descriptive representation is put under pressure. But the few empirical studies undertaken in this area question this general assumption. In addition, levels of party membership vary between countries, so that even parties that have experienced dramatic falls in membership could still have comparatively high membership levels.
We seek papers mapping descriptive representation within different strata in parties (especially in comparative perspective: either across parties, across countries and/or across strata in the party), and papers investigating causes and/or consequences of the overrepresentation or underrepresentation of particular social groups.

For more information on the workshop and how to propose a paper, click here

2) Workshop on Workshop on “Political Leadership and Democratic Innovations: Primaries, Intra-Party Democracy and their Impact on Political Elites”, Directed by Giulia Sandri and Antonella Seddone

The expansion of intra-party democracy, the adoption of new forms of e-participation and the introduction of new types of party membership are nowadays characterizing party politics in many advanced democracies. In particular, the trend towards more inclusive methods of selection of party candidates and leaders in several countries across the world and increasing data availability on intra-party democratic innovations (primary elections for instance) makes a research on the consequences of these trends both empirically relevant and feasible. The panel is thus dedicated to a systematic cross-time and cross-country study of such politically relevant phenomena and in particular on their impact on political elites. The research questions at the basis of this panel explore the party elites that emerge from those selection processes and those democratized organizational settings. Putting an emphasis on primary elections in particular, the panel focuses not only on the analysis of the processes through which party elites are selected and the consequences at the level of the party (organization and electoral success) but also at the level of party elites themselves, i.e. what impact party primaries have on the characteristics of parties’ candidates and leaders. What effects do primaries have on the selection of party elites? Do parties with primary elections choose as candidates and leaders people with different characteristics than ones without primaries? How do primaries affect the way parties are run by their elites? How do primaries affect the way leaders control the strategy and policy of parties? The panel also welcomes papers exploring the issue of the impact of inclusive selection methods on political elites though other dimensions of analysis, such as the one of responsiveness, accountability or party’s parliamentary cohesion.

3) Workshop on “Rethinking Intra-Party Cohesion in Time of Party Transformation”, Directed by Caroline Close and Sergiu Gherghina

Intra-party cohesion is a crucial feature of parliamentary democracies. Government’s stability and survival as well as legislative activity greatly depend on the capacity of political parties to work as unified entities. But parties are not monolithic organizations: they aggregate more or less divergent views; include followers and leaders; and are organized along a hierarchical or stratarchical structure. Intra-party divisions can be frequent between and within the faces of the party: party members’ dissatisfaction with their local section (party on the ground); divisions at party congresses surrounding the elaboration of the party platform or leadership selection (central office); disunity of legislators voting behavior (public office). Given these dissensions, how do parties manage to work as cohesive blocks?
This is the topic addressed by this workshop especially that it becomes even more relevant at a time when party organizations are in a continuous process of transformation through processes such as cartelization, intra-party democratization, and dealignement. These developments are likely to influence the degree of cohesion between and within the faces of the party. For example, we may expect greater dissensions between grassroots supporters and their elites as the latter are moving away from civil society and enhancing their position in the state; while intra-party democratization may increase grassroots’ control of their leaders. Intra-party democratization might increase the heterogeneity of interests and ideas among party members, while cartelization might bring resources that leaders can use as ‘carrots’ to incentivize cohesion among public officials.
This workshop aims to achieve four objectives: (1) To define cohesion (with different meaning in the literature); 2) To identify ways to measure cohesion (within and between the faces of the party); (3) To identify determinants of cohesion and (4) To analyze how party transformations affect parties’ capacity to function as collective entities.






University of Nottingham
Nottingham, United Kingdom
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