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Organizing Political PartiesRepresentation, Participation, and Power$
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Susan E. Scarrow, Paul D. Webb, and Thomas Poguntke

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758631.001.0001

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The Study of Party Organization

(p.307) 13 Conclusion
Organizing Political Parties

Paul D. Webb

Thomas Poguntke

Susan E. Scarrow

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly recaps the findings of this volume, then addresses more general questions concerning the types of organizational patterns that researchers should expect to find, and the most fruitful approaches to understanding the origins and implications of those patterns. The authors review the PPDB data in order to assess the empirical applicability of various well-known ideal-types of parties. They find that only a minority of the cases in the dataset fit into one of these ideal-type categories—even when the bar is set low for such classification. It is argued that the ideal-type approach, while it has its merits, is less useful as a practical guide for empirical research than analytical frameworks based on the key dimensions of party organization—resources, structures, and representational strategies. The chapter closes by emphasizing the very real consequences that the organizational choices made by parties can have for representative democracy.

Keywords:   party organization, mass party, catch-all party, cartel party

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