Parties and Party Systems: Structure and Context

by Richard Johnston and Campbell Sharman

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.