Election campaign in Gothenburg in 2014.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

Party Research Programme

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Short description

The Party Research Programme is a research network situated at the Department of Political Science. A minimal definition of political parties is that they are groups of people, who choose candidates, which compete in elections under a certain label. Generally, political parties’ role is much bigger than that. Political parties are essential in the democratic system, political parties have internal life, they co-operate, and they formulate policy proposals, reforms and ideologies. Political parties represent the underlying political conflicts in a country.

Research questions

Political parties change, adapts to changing circumstances in society and their driving forces switch. The Party Research Program is interested in both normative and empirical issues of the parties’ role in the political system, but also for the parties’ internal life, development and history and party members and digital media.

Party research seminars

The Department of Political Science holds regular series of Party Research Seminars. The seminars are given by the Department’s own staff as well as invited guests.

For more information, please see the calendar on our website.

Magnus Hagevi, Sofie Blombäck, Marie Demker, Jonas Hinnfors, Karl Loxbo. Party Realignment in Western Europe. Electoral Drivers and Global Constraints. Edward Elgar, 2022.

Identifying a crisis for representative democracy in Western European party systems, this essential book studies the widening gap between political parties’ ideological economic Left–Right rhetoric and their increasing convergence on policymaking. Addressing whether these ideologies are converging or diverging, it answers whether these changes are initiated by the parties themselves, aligned with voter demand, or forced by economic globalization.
The crisis of representative democracy in Western Europe is a prevalent issue in comparative politics.

This comprehensive study assesses the problems faced by representative democracy by analysing ideological polarization and inter-party conflict in relation to the changing linkage between citizens, parties, and public policies, and the implications this has for representative democracy. Considering both supply-side and demand-side theories, it analyses five major theoretical themes central to the ideological convergence and polarization within party systems, including the cartel party thesis, the median voter theorem, realignment theory, consensus democracy theory, and globalization theory. Going beyond theory, chapters use five decades of empirical research to present new and unique longitudinal and comparative data sets covering eight party systems, ultimately providing a more accurate diagnosis of the vitality of representative democracy in contemporary Western Europe.

Combining in-depth theoretical analysis with empirical research, this comprehensive book will prove invaluable to students and scholars of politics and political science, and policymakers concerned with party systems.

Critical acclaim
"An innovative study of the changing forces reshaping party competition in Western Europe, the authors argue that electoral realignment, combined with globalization’s constraints on national politics, provide new challenges for political parties in representative democracies. The book will be essential reading for students of elections and political parties."
– Pippa Norris, Harvard University, US