Party institutionalization as multilevel concept: base- versus elite-level routinization

  • Nicole BolleyerEmail author
  • Saskia P. Ruth-Lovell


This article adds to the refinement of the concept of party institutionalization by focusing on its multilevel character, capturing possible variation between the institutionalization of the party elite and a party’s base. Hence, we argue that debates around party institutionalization as an analytical concept can profit from clarifying whose behavior we actually theorize when specifying and operationalizing the concept’s various dimensions. We illustrate this by focusing on different configurations of the internal property of routinization, more specifically, the presence or absence of elite-level and of base-level routinization. We hypothesize that distinct combinations influence whether and to which extent a party’s overall organization can be considered routinized or not, which, in turn, affects intra-organizational dynamics. We illustrate the usefulness of our conceptual distinctions using comparative case studies of parties characterized by either elite-level or base-level routinization—from both established and new democracies—to illustrate each dimension’s distinct implications for patterns of intra-party conflict and stability.


Party institutionalization Routinization Party organization Latin America Established democracies 

Parteiinstitutionalisierung, ein mehrstufiges Konzept: Routinisierung von Parteibasis und Parteielite


Dieser Artikel trägt zur Verfeinerung des Konzepts der Parteiinstitutionalisierung bei, indem er sich auf seinen mehrstufigen Charakter konzentriert und mögliche Abweichungen zwischen der Institutionalisierung auf der Ebene der Parteielite und der Parteibasis erfasst. Wir argumentieren, dass Debatten über das Konzept der Institutionalisierung von Parteien von der Klarstellung wessen Verhalten wir eigentlich theoretisieren, wenn wir die verschiedenen Dimensionen des Konzepts spezifizieren und operationalisieren, profitieren würden. Wir veranschaulichen dies indem wir uns auf verschiedene Konfigurationen der internen Routinisierung von Parteien konzentrieren, insbesondere das Vorhandensein oder Nichtvorhandensein der Routinisierung auf der Ebene der Parteielite und der Parteibasis. Wir stellen die Hypothese auf, dass unterschiedliche Kombinationen beeinflussen, ob und inwieweit die gesamte Parteiorganisation als routinisiert betrachtet werden kann oder nicht, was wiederum die organisationsinterne Dynamik beeinflusst. Wir veranschaulichen die Nützlichkeit unserer konzeptionellen Unterscheidung anhand vergleichender Fallstudien von Parteien in neuen und etablierten Demokratien, die entweder durch die Routinisierung der Parteielite oder der Parteibasis gekennzeichnet sind, um die unterschiedlichen Auswirkungen jeder Dimension auf die Konfliktmuster und interne Stabilität der Parteien zu veranschaulichen.


Parteiinstitutionalisierung Routinisierung Parteiorganisation Lateinamerika Etablierte Demokratien 



We thank the editors of this special issue, the referees of the journal as well as the participants of the Workshop “Different Worlds of Party Development” at the University Duisburg-Essen for their helpful input on earlier versions of this paper.


This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–13/ERC grant agreement 335890 STATORG). This support is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.Institute of Latin American StudiesGIGA German Institute of Global and Area StudiesHamburgGermany

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