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Robert Harmel and Lars Svåsand, "'Preface' to Special Issue on Party Change," Party Politics, 3 (July 1997), 291-292.

First Paragraph:
For a long time, it seemed as though study of the internal workings of established competitive parties was based on a premise of static institutions, for whom most significant change had been completed by the end of the adolescent years. As large organizations, parties were assumed to be organizationally conservative. Substantial adjustments were the exception, to be treated as rarities. Hence, much greater emphasis was placed on how and why parties differed from one another than on explaining how parties changed internally over time.

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Last Paragraph:
Collectively, the studies reported in these pages have brought us a step closer to answering some of those questions, and inevitably have raised several more. All but two of the pieces are later versions of papers prepared for the Party Change workshop. We are pleased that these articles reflect the variety of high-quality research that has recently been done on the topic: from case studies to cross-national comparisons, from concerns over conceptual clarity and measurement issues to development of theoretical frameworks and empirical tests of competing hypotheses, seeking explanations for party change--whether organizational or doctrinal--both internally and from the parties' environments. The common denominator in all of this research, though, is interest in contributing to the eventual explanation of how and why parties change.