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Citizens and the State$
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Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Dieter Fuchs

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294733

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294735.001.0001

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Party Membership and Party Representativeness

Party Membership and Party Representativeness

(p.134) 5 Party Membership and Party Representativeness
Citizens and the State

Anders Widfeldt

Oxford University Press

The analysis is based on the conception of political parties as participatory and/or representative linkages between the public and their governments. Its main purpose is to investigate how the parties match up to their linkage role. Some findings are rather discouraging—membership levels are often low, and memberships can be socially unrepresentative, tending to be more extreme than the base of party supporters. Other findings are less negative—there has been no sharp drop overall in party membership, and the ideological gap between party members and party supporters is not that wide. Although there must be a question mark about how well the parties are functioning as participatory linkages, there is no evidence of acute crisis.

Keywords:   party membership, party representativeness

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