Parties and Party Systems: Structure and Context

Richard Johnston and Campbell Sharman, 2015.

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About the Book

Party systems, party organization. For too long, scholars researching in these two areas have worked in isolation. This book bridges the divide by bringing together leading political scientists from both traditions to examine the intersection of rules, society, and the organization of parties within party systems.

Blending theory and case studies, Parties and Party Systems builds upon the pioneering work of R. Kenneth Carty, whose ideas about brokerage politics have influenced a generation of scholars. The contributors explore four thematic pathways: How do parties work across lines of division in society? How do partisan teams hold together in the face of the centrifugal pressures that necessitate brokerage? How can parties withstand the complicated principal-agent relations that inevitably arise? And, how does the institutional context constrain a multitude of competing interests when it, itself, is quite fragile?

By providing new perspectives on parties as organizations that exist within political systems, this volume will provoke theoretical reconsideration, prompt further integrative thinking, and inspire future research at the political organization-system nexus.


About the Authors

Richard Johnston is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Public Opinion, Elections, and Representation in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Among the books he has co-authored is The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South, which won the APSA Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Prize in 2007 and of the VO Key Prize of the Southern Political Science Association in 2008. Campbell Sharman is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the co-editor of Australian Politics and Government: The Commonwealth, the States, and the Territories among other publications. His research interests focus on federalism and the effects of institutional rules, both electoral and constitutional, on the political process in parliamentary systems.