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UK Politics – Party Members

1. Why Do Parties Still Need Party Members?

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, Professor Paul Webb asks why, if at all, parties still need party members, focusing in particular on: (i) the use of party members in demonstrating a party’s legitimacy; (ii) the informal service provided by party members as "ambassadors in the community"; (iii) the voluntary labour provided by party members, e.g. in campaigning; (iv) the financial benefits provided by party members, particularly for smaller parties; (v) the use of the party membership in providing a source of potential candidates for office; (vi) the minor role party members may have in shaping party policy.

Course

In this course, Professor Paul Webb (University of Sussex) explores party membership in the UK. In the first module, we ask why, if at all, parties still need party members, listing in detail the various purposes party members still serve in 2022. In the next module, we move on to explore the demographic composition of party membership in the UK, and outline the key features of Seyd & Whiteley’s ‘general incentives’ model for why people still join political parties. In the third module, we explore party membership activity in the UK’s key political parties, answering the question: “What do party members actually do?” using Professor Webb’s own primary research. In the fourth module, we analyse trends in party membership in the UK, before finally, in the fifth module, concluding with an evaluation of the extent to which the internal organisation of British political parties can be described as ‘democratic’.

Lecturer

Paul Webb is Professor of Politics at the University of Sussex, and has held a number of previous and visiting positions in Britain and abroad, including at the Australian National University (Canberra) and Nihon University (Tokyo). His research interests focus on representative democracy, particularly party and electoral p politics. His recent publications include (with Tim Bale and Monica Poletti) Footsoldiers: Party Members in the 21st Century (2019) and (with Susan Scarrow and Thomas Poguntke) Organizing Political Parties: Representation, Participation and Power (2017).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Webb, P. (2022, July 10). UK Politics – Party Members - Why Do Parties Still Need Party Members? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/uk-politics-party-members/why-do-parties-still-need-party-members

MLA style

Webb, P. "UK Politics – Party Members – Why Do Parties Still Need Party Members?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Jul 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/uk-politics-party-members/why-do-parties-still-need-party-members

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