Political Parties and Democracy: The Ambiguous Crisis

Webb, Paul (2005) Political Parties and Democracy: The Ambiguous Crisis. Democratization, 12 (5). pp. 633-650. ISSN 1351-0347

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This study reviews the case for the often-claimed crisis of party in established democracies, and argues that such a contention rests at least in part on ambiguous evidence. Consequently, there is an urgent need for research that provides a better understanding of citizen attitudes towards democratic institutions and processes. An interesting example of such research can be found in work recently conducted on citizens in the United States, which suggests a combination of political disengagement and cynicism towards parties and political elites. If this disturbing pattern were to be found across other democracies, its causes would clearly demand investigation: it is suggested here that the nature of the contemporary mass media is a factor with obvious potential for explaining such developments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article focuses on the evidence of popular disaffection with political parties across the democratic world. It points to the shortcomings and ambiguities of some of the empirical evidence, and calls for new research. This call was subsequently further developed as an agenda for research in a pamphlet commissioned by the Hansard Society (2007), and constitutes the basis for a major new collaborative research project on which Webb is working with colleagues.
Keywords: party systems, political representation, political recruitment, governance
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Paul Webb
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:17
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2012 14:25
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15596
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