Seminar: “Personalised Politics in the Age of the Cartel Party: Opportunities for Participatory Renewal”, 12 November 2019 (Sciences Po, France)

CEE General Seminar “Personalised Politics in the Age of the Cartel Party: Opportunities for Participatory Renewal”

The paper examines the prognosis for partisan politics in the era of the cartel party – and era in which party leaders reign supreme, party democracy is illusory and policy differences between parties are muted. It challenges the view that the personalisation of politics, or personalised politics, stands in opposition to political parties as organisations and threatens their role as mechanisms of linkage between citizens and the state. Rather, it explores the possibilities for partisan democratic renewal and increased citizen engagement that arise with a shift to more individualised, or personalised types of political participation. In doing so, the paper draws on perspectives from social movement and media and communications literatures to argue that personalised politics can be seen as a phenomenon that applies not only to political elites (party leaders, elected representatives, candidates etc.) but one that can also be used to understand the changing role and participatory preferences of party members, supporters and citizens. The paper is structured in three parts. The first outlines the characteristics and empirical markers of personalised politics, moving away from a focus on elites to the engagement profiles of individual citizens – both in the online and offline arenas. The second section examines how political parties have accommodated these new patterns of participation within their organisational arrangements, focusing on the key party functions of candidate selection, policy development and campaign communication. The final section explores how these new organisational structures and processes are reshaping the role of parties as mediators between citizens and the state, and the challenges involved in reconciling personalised politics with collective identity. The primary contribution of the paper is intended to be theoretical and conceptual, but the argument will substantiated with a comprehensive range of comparative illustrative examples from various established democracies.

Tuesday 12 November 2019, 12.30-2.30 pm

Sciences Po, Salle du Conseil, 13 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris

More information on the seminar here.