alan ware political parties and party systems - pdf
School of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Department of Political Science
Senior Sophister 2017–18
PO4670 POLITICAL PARTIES
(PO4671 for European Studies students)
Lecturer term 1: Michael Gallagher
(Term 2: lecturer Dr Emanuel Coman)
This module studies political parties, and in the first term it focuses primarily,
though not exclusively, on parties as organisations. It looks at where parties
come from, what they do, where power lies within them, what sort of people
join them and why, and at arguments that parties are inevitably undemocratic
organisations, finishing by considering the future prospects of political parties.
It will look primarily at parties in western Europe, although for particular topics
evidence from other competitive party systems (such as the USA, Canada,
Japan, Israel, Australia) will also be discussed. It is designed for students who
have taken a number of political science modules and is not advised for those
with little political science background.
Module structure for first term
The first meeting will be introductory and will give an overview of the first
term. After that, the module will proceed by means of weekly discussion classes
at which all students will be required to participate actively.
By the end of the first term of this module, students will have a deeper
understanding of the roles played by political parties within contemporary
political systems and the debates around these roles, of the ways in which
parties function, and of the challenges that parties face in the twenty-first
century. They will be equipped to assess critically research into political parties.
My office is Room 5.06, 1 Foster Place; office hours Thursdays 3–4.40. Email
address mgllgher @ tcd.ie
Clicking on the PO4670 Political Parties module page at
takes you to the module page, which in turn has a link to the first-term online
noticeboard, where module information will be posted (accessible from TCD
computers only). Handouts and relevant readings will also be on the module’s
PO4670 Political Parties, term 1, 2017–18
For PO4670 as a whole, the May exam counts for 60% of the final overall mark, with first
term coursework counting 20% and second term coursework counting 20%. For PO4671 the
students submit only one paper – either an assignment on one of the first term essay topics
(p. 16) or on one of the second-term essay topics. This counts 30% of the final mark, with
the exam counting 70%.
First term coursework consists of writing one essay, due on Wednesday 6 December (week
11 of term). For a paper that is not submitted, or is submitted late without an extension
having been granted in advance, a mark of zero will be recorded.
Seminar discussions in term 1
After the initial introductory lecture, the module proceeds by a series of discussion seminars.
At these the class discusses a topic, as set out on the handout. Everyone is required to read a
specific item (marked with ***) and, in addition, to read one other item. The *** chapters or
articles will usually be on the online noticeboard, or on reserve in the library; articles will be
either on photocopy reserve, or on-line via the library site, or on the module on-line
noticeboard, or all three. Items will be assigned by email notification.
When doing your assigned reading for the classes, bear in mind when you talk about your
reading that the main aim is not to tell me what was in the reading but to tell the other
members of the class. The idea is that each week’s meeting has aspects of a group project,
where the work is divided up and each person can rely on the other members of the class to
find out about and report on what light their allocated reading throws on the topic under
discussion. (This also implies that any student who hasn’t done their allotted reading is not
letting down the lecturer, they’re letting down the other members of the class.)
So, when presenting this in the class, do your best to tailor what you say to other members
of the class. Make sure you present enough background and context so that they can
understand the significance of what you’ve found. On the other hand, you won’t need to
present every detail of what you’ve read, so do identify in advance the main points, the ones
relevant to the question we’ll be discussing, rather than give a blow-by-blow account of
every page of the article or chapter.
PO4670 Political Parties, term 1, 2017–18
Details of reading for individual topics are given separately. There is no textbook as such, but
the following items will occur on the reading for specific topics and are of general relevance
and usefulness even if not on a topic reading list.
Richard S Katz and William J Crotty (eds), Handbook of Party Politics (London: Sage,
2006). Has chapters on many of the module topics, and as such the nearest thing there is
to a textbook.
Michael Gallagher, Michael Laver and Peter Mair, Representative Government in Modern
Europe, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Ch 10 (inside political parties) gives an
overview of a number of themes in the module
Alan Ware, ‘Exceptionalism, political science and the comparative analysis of political
parties’, Government and Opposition 46:4 (2011), 411–35
Alan Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996
William P Cross and Richard S Katz (eds), The Challenges of Intra-Party Democracy
(Oxford UP, 2013)
Ann-Kristin Kölln, ‘The value of political parties to representative democracy’, European
Political Science Review 7:4 (2015) 593–613.
Sheri Berman, “The life of the party”, Comparative Politics 30:1 (1997), pp. 101–22 is a
useful discussion of some broad themes.
William R Schonfeld, ‘Political parties: the functional approach and the structural
alternative’, Comparative Politics 15 (1983) 477–99. Argues that it makes sense to study
parties in terms of their organisations rather than in terms of the functions they
Brief overviews of a number of relevant topics (eg campaigning, candidate selection,
canvassing, Downsian model, election finance, public aid, realigning elections) in Richard
Rose (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Elections (Washington: CQ Press, 2000)
Journals that often include relevant and up-to-date material are Party Politics, West
European Politics, to a lesser extent Electoral Studies and German Politics.
As for Internet sites, you could try:
www.politicalpartydb.org – political party database