Do Parties Still Represent?
An Analysis of the Representativeness of Political Parties in Western Democracies
This book examines the representativeness of party membership and analyses the potential consequences of changing representativeness.
Parties with high membership ratios, as well as those experiencing severe decline, are compared and examined across countries with varying constitutional arrangements and party systems. The book discusses whether changing representative capacities lead to declining political representation of (group) interests, less representative party candidate selection processes and declining legitimacy for the political system. The book bridges two subareas that are usually not in conversation with each other: literature on the decline of party membership and that on group representation (gender, ethnic minorities and other social groups).
This text will be of key interest to students and scholars of party politics, political parties, representation and elections, and more broadly to people interested in European and comparative politics.
Table of Contents
1. Party Membership as Linkage [Knut Heidar and Bram Wauters] 2. Descriptive Representation in Local Party Associations and Its Implications for Representation in Parliament: findings from the Canadian Case [William Cross] 3. Not Exactly a Mirror Image: British Parties’ Members and Voters Compared [Tim Bale, Monica Poletti, and Paul Webb] 4. Do Australian Parties Represent? [Anika Gauja and Jordan McSwiney] 5. Germany: The Politicization of Party Membership [Klaus Detterbeck] 6. Belgium: Parties as Distorting Mirrors. Descriptive and Substantive Representativeness in Flemish Parties under Scrutiny [Robin Devroe, Benjamin de Vet, Nicolas Van de Voorde and Bram Wauters] 7. Something for Everyone? Political Parties, Party Members and Representation in the Netherlands [Josje den Ridder, Ruud Koole and Joop van Holsteyn] 8. Norwegian Parties at Work: Representative Capacities and Political Trust [Knut Heidar] 9. A Skewed Channel of Participation in Denmark – and an Even More Skewed Recruitment Pool [Karina Kosiara-Pedersen] 10. Representativeness of Parties: Old Problems, New Challenges [Knut Heidar and Bram Wauters]
Knut Heidar is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Bram Wauters is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University, Belgium.