ECPR Standing Group in Political Parties


1. ECPR General Conference, Bordeaux , 5-7 September 2013 – preliminary Panel proposals

The organisers finalised the Sections in late July. This included a section proposal by the Standing Group on ‘Challenges to Party Democracy. Subsequent to the call for panels (the deadline was 5 October 2012) there is now a call for Papers (deadline 1 February 2013).

2. Workshops approved at ECPR Joint Sessions, Mainz, 11-16 March 2013.

Basic information on the workshops approved for the Mainz Joint Sessions has now been published ( More details will no doubt follow in the next few weeks and the deadline for proposing papers is in any event still some way off (1 December 2012). For now, I would like to note that there is a large number of workshops on subjects on which Standing Group members specialise. These include:

·       Beyond Class Politics. How Parties, Voters, Media and Unions Shape Public Policy

·       Electoral Quotas and Political Representation: Comparative Perspectives

·       Political Parties and the Recruitment of Appointed Elites in Contemporary Democracies

·       Going dirty: Negative campaigning in elections and referenda and its effects on citizens’ attitudes and behaviour

·       Electoral Competitiveness in Cross-National Research: Challenges and New Directions

·       Understanding Parliamentarians: Individual Goals and Behaviour in European Legislatures

·       Gender, Political Behaviour and Representation in ‘Preferential’ Electoral Systems

·       Party System Dynamics: New Tools for the Study of Party System Change and Party Transformation. For more details, please see:

3. Decisions at Antwerp Standing Group Meeting
The Group’s meeting at the Antwerp Joint Sessions was attended by around 20 colleagues. The following are the main points of that meeting.

a. Future of the Parties Summer School
The VUB and ULB teams were thanked for successfully hosting the Summer School since 2010. The meeting approved a proposal from Ferdinand Müller-Rommel to run the Summer School from 2013 to 2015 at the Center for the Study of Democracy, which he directs at Lüneburg. The overall theme will be ‘Parties and Democracy’ and will include some discussion of parties in ‘transition’ countries beyondEurope. Keen to ensure that summer topics continue to reflect the interests of PhD students, Ferdinand asked for and received suggestions about future topics.

b. Expanding Membership
The Group’s current membership of ca. 150 considerably under-represents the number of party researchers (including PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) at member institutions. The meeting discussed how to recruit more party researchers into the Group. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel volunteered to look through the programme of the forthcoming graduate conference to acquire information about PhDs who might be interested in joining the Group and pass this on to me. This might also enable us to identify one or more graduate students willing to help mobilise their peers. Kris Deschouwer volunteered to raise this at the 2012 summer school. I would herewith also encourage all of you to please check that all your colleagues and PhD students researching into political parties are in the Group. If they are not, they just need to complete the form on the Group’s web page ( and email it to me.

c. Updating the Membership Database
We depend on members updating their details on the Group’s web page. If you have done so recently, please update your entry by using the form downloadable here:

d. Publicising Members’ Current Major Research Projects
Gideon Rahat noted that members are developing numerous large research projects , but these often not very visible. His warmly received suggestion was  that these be publicised to members via Standing Group circulars and/or on the Standing Group web site. In response, I have liaised with Gideon and other colleagues and generated a new page entitled ‘Current Major Projects’ ( So far, it contains details of just two projects: ‘The Challenges of Intra-Party Democracy’ and ‘Primaries in Comparative Perspective’. Please send details of other major research projects you wish to publicise by filling in the form on the current major projects page and sending it to:

4. The 2013-2015 ECPR PhD Summer Schools on Political Parties will take place at the Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg,Germany.

23rd ECPR PhD Summer School on “Political Parties and Democracy”

September 7-13, 2013 at the Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany.

This well-known PhD Summer School is organized by the “Standing Group of Political Parties” of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and will bring together an international team of academics (professors, researchers and students) working in the field of political parties and democracy. For more details click here.


Written by ECPR Standing Group on Political Parties

April 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm