It is often suggested that political parties are becoming increasingly alike, and that party politics has turned into an elite affair where political professionals collude to further their self-interest rather than work to represent the interests of their constituents. In recent decades this diagnosis has been famously associated with Richard Katz and Peter Mair's cartel party theory. Yet so far this controversial thesis has not been subjected to systematic empirical scrutiny, nor has its conceptual and normative underpinnings been properly considered. In this volume a group of political scientists with different specialisations take on this task, focusing empirically on the Swedish party system, which the originators of the cartel party theory have suggested is especially conducive to the formation of party cartels. Collecting new and unique qualitative and quantitative data, the volume casts serious doubt on the validity of the cartel party theory as an explanation for party system change.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield International
Number of pages: 258
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 25 mm
A forceful attack on the cartel party theory. The authors make efficient use of their Swedish case study for questioning many of the core assumptions and normative judgements of the most influential account in contemporary party research. -- Klaus Detterbeck, Political Scientist, University of Goettingen, Germany
The cartel thesis has been remarkably influential. In over two decades, reference to it has been almost obligatory in published research on party politics. Enroth and Hagevi's excellent anthology unpacks the thesis and subjects it to thorough and rare empirical tests. The admirably clear conclusions about representative democracy in a crucial case - Sweden - leave party scholars with much to ponder. -- Nicholas Aylott, Soedertoern University