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Demokrati eller fåtalsvälde?: Om beslutsfattande i partiorganisationer : [on intraparty decision making]
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
1998 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Robert Michels's so called "iron law of oligarchy" has nurtured a long-standing interest in the internal life of party organizations. Yet there has been few systematic investigations of intraparty decision making. This dissertation tests Michels's hypothesis on the basis of a comparative case study of two decision-making processes in the two largest political parties in Sweden: the Social Democrats and the Conservatives (the Moderate Party). Three dimensions of oligarchy versus democracy are considered: the actual influence exercised by the party organization, its opportunity to influence, and its possibility to hold the decision-makers accountable.

The two decision-making processes studied are selected on the basis of importance and equivalence as well as a most-different cases argument for representativeness. The first is the process surrounding the 1992 crisis deals, the second concerns the latest program revisions of the two parties.

The results reveal the Conservatives to be a voter-oriented campaign party, where the parliamentary group and the regional-level constituency organizations have the best opportunities to influence the decision-makers and to hold them accountable. The Social Democrats, by contrast, are more of a member-oriented movement party in that local branches as well as the national executive of the membership organization are also included in the process. Both party organizations, however, suffer from an almost complete lack of actual influence over the decisions made by the top-level elite, and the opportunities to influence are relatively limited. What tempers the confirmation of Michels's thesis is only that the decision-makers usually occupy elected positions within the parties, and that they to some extent provide information on the basis of which they can be held accountable. The dissertation concludes by discussing these findings from the perspective of democratic theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1998. , 391, [6] p.
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 129
Keyword [en]
Political science
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-917ISBN: 91-554-4306-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-917DiVA: diva2:172324
Public defence
1998-12-12, Brusewitzsalen, Gamla torget 6, Uppsala, Uppsala, 14:15
Available from: 1998-11-21 Created: 1998-11-21Bibliographically approved

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