Political Parties, Party Systems and Elections Research Network

This Research Network has a simple purpose, to improve our understanding of political parties, party systems and elections by engaging scholars in sustained conversations that cut across geographical and disciplinary boundaries.  We will use a combination of electronic networking tools and more traditional conference meetings to bring scholars together and assist them in working together to gather and disseminate better data and collaborate on joint projects.
What will we work on?
On the basis of a survey completed by nearly 100 of our founding members, the research network will focus on four main areas of party-related research:
  • Understanding How Parties Work
  • The single largest cluster of responses to the survey—over 30%--involved interest in the inner-workings of parties, including the dynamics of party membership, finance, and candidate selection.
  • Understanding How Party Systems Change
  • A second cluster of responses—over 20%--focused on interactions among parties, including ideological positioning and dimensions of competition, and the disruptions produced by new parties.
  • Understanding How Voters Choose
  • Another 20% of respondents sought support for their research on parties’ relationships with voters, particularly in an era when at least some traditional social cleavages appear to be eroding and other types of collective identity are emerging.
  • Understanding the Contexts in which Parties and Party Systems Operate 
  • Finally, 20% of the survey responses expressed interest in research on the broader institutional context of parties and party systems including the role of electoral systems, presidencies, financial interests, and multilevel governance, especially the European Union.

How will we work together?
Our goal with this proposal is to create a practical filter mechanism for scholars of parties and elections.  Within the bounds of time and expertise, we seek to create a place where scholars turn first for what they need to know about scholarship on parties and elections and about the scholars who do the work.  We seek to provide a consistent flow of information that scholars need without creating new demands on their attention to offer a convenient and useful mechanisms for users to generate content that will be of use to others.
  • Linking scholars. We began our efforts to link scholars with the “Why We Study Parties” Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/whywestudyparties/) which combines up-to-date news from in-country observers and participants with commentary and humor.  We will also be making information from this group available to members who prefer not to use Facebook.   We are building a detailed membership directory to allow members to find just the right combination of expertise that might help to answer particular questions.
  • Linking scholarship.  Developing personal networks is easiest when there are common projects around which to build, and we publicize joint projects, provide a space for communication among researchers engaged in the large-scale data gathering efforts, help find partners and advisors for grant proposals and scholars for expert surveys.
  • Linking existing groups and their members.  Although scholars of political parties have formed a variety of groups at the national and regional level, these remain largely disconnected.  The Research Network will create links between the party- and election-related efforts of regional and domestic political science associations by posting their updates, newsletters, and calls for papers. 

  Co-Chairs: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Yale University
                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., LUISS
                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Utrecht University

To join this network, fill out our Research Network Signup.

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