comp politics lec 8

comp politics lec 8 - Wednesday October 3, 2007: Political...

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Wednesday – October 3, 2007: Political Parties Topics for class discussion: - what parties are; characteristics of them - theories about parties - parties and democratic transitions; parties in a comparative framework I. What Political Parties Are, and Characteristics of Them a. Parties have and continue to exist in every system of representative government b. Defining political parties is a normative task ; what parties do varies from place to place depending upon what people think political parties should do c. At the most fundamental level, it is a group of people organized for the purpose of influencing government, largely through the election of a designated representative to a governmental position d. They aggregate interests : “they bring order out of chaos to a multitude of voters” (p. 7 in Katz et al) e. Represent groups that are in competition with other groups over the distribution of resources i. Social cleavages are often translated into parties ii. Materialist/postmaterialist values may be identified with particular parties 1. materialist values – those associated with meeting material needs 2. postmaterialist values – values people can seek to promote after their basic needs are met and they are relatively satisfied with their quality of life (e.g. social justice, protection of endangered species, equality between the sexes) f. They communicate political priorities and policy positions/programs g. They encourage political participation
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comp politics lec 8 - Wednesday October 3, 2007: Political...

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