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Democracy within PartiesCandidate Selection Methods and Their Political Consequences$
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Reuven Y. Hazan and Gideon Rahat

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572540

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572540.001.0001

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(p.89) 6 Participation
Democracy within Parties

Reuven Y. Hazan (Contributor Webpage)

Gideon Rahat (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Participation is a central dimension of democracy. Democracy at the national level requires universal participation, that is, maximum inclusiveness. But what about participation at the intraparty, candidate selection, level? This chapter looks at participation as inclusiveness and as turnout, and assesses the quantity versus the quality of participation within political parties. It focuses on the actual impact of democratizing candidate selection methods on patterns of political participation – specifically the political consequences of expanding the selectorate. It points out several disturbing pathologies encountered in the process of democratizing candidate selection, among which are mass registration drives that produce “instant” members who are uninformed and passive, and the inability of the party to offer its activists selective incentives. The chapter concludes by asking whether the positive intentions concerning participatory democracy can lead to the demise of meaningful, qualitative, deliberative participation.

Keywords:   candidate selection, political parties, democratization, participation, inclusiveness, turnout, quality of participation, mass registration, instant membership, selective incentives

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