Political Parties

  • Charles Lees
Part of the New Perspectives in German Studies book series (NPG)


Chapter 7 examines the key institutional variable in the study of party politics — the political parties themselves. Political parties operate at the heart of the political process and are present in some shape or form in all advanced industrial democracies. In the context of this study, they are the firms operating within the political marketplace. Leaving this assertion to one side for the moment, there is some degree of general agreement as to what parties are for. Most scholars would agree that the core functions of political parties are
  • Elite recruitment (putting forward candidates for public office)

  • Sustaining public institutions (providing personnel; providing leaders with logistical support/effective opposition)

  • Interest representation and aggregation (converting the demands of social interests into manageable packages of public policy choices)

  • Mobilisation and integration (integrating citizens into the political system and mobilising civic participation)

It will be noted that the list above relates to party functions only but in this regard goes a little further than the functions described by Ware (1987a) and discussed in the introduction to this book. But as will be discussed shortly, a functional perspective is not necessarily the best way of categorising political parties in a comparative perspective.


Political Party Party System Party Organisation Social Democratic Party Weimar Republic 
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Copyright information

© Charles Lees 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Lees
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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