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New forms of political participation: Changing demands or changing opportunities to participate in political parties?

Abstract : In the past 30 years, party membership has dropped significantly across Europe, whereas other forms of political participation have developed. I first show how political parties have sought to be more attractive by lowering the cost of membership and creating new selective incentives (such as the right to vote in internal ballots), leading to a convergence of party rules across European parties. To understand the logic behind such reforms, one needs to take into account the broader political context and I focus on the United Kingdom to show how competition between and within parties provided the justification for changes that mostly aligned them with organisational myths. The third part argues that such changes in opportunities to participate in political parties contribute to explain why membership has continued to fall. This article draws on extensive qualitative research (including my own) conducted in and on political parties in the United Kingdom and France to provide a new account of membership recruitment crisis that contrasts with the traditional emphasis on supply/demand.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 12:34:29 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 9:28:43 AM

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Florence Faucher. New forms of political participation: Changing demands or changing opportunities to participate in political parties?. Comparative European Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 13 (4), pp.405-429. ⟨10.1057/cep.2013.31⟩. ⟨hal-02186545⟩

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