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Nicholas Aylott, "After the Divorce: Social Democrats and Trade Unions in Sweden," Party Politics, 9 (May 2003), 369-390.

First Paragraph:
European political parties have undergone considerable organizational change since their emergence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Duverger (1990 [19541) was the first to distinguish between two basic party types: the cadre party of notables and the mass party, the political arm of socio-economic groups outside the political establishment. Later, Duverger observed a 'contagion from the left', with the cadre-type parties adopting the organizational features of the mass-type, whereas others detected something resembling the opposite. Back in the 1960s, Kirchheimer (1990 [1966]) suggested that parties were looking increasingly like each other. In addition to a dilution of ideological identity in favour of programmatic flexibility and pragmatism, he also suggested that the power of the top leadership was growing vis-a-vis other sections of the party, particularly individual members; that appealing to a specific target group of voters was becoming less important than 'catch-all' vote-seeking throughout the electorate; and that the range of interest groups with which the party had contact was widening. Panebianco (1988: 264-7) identified the rise of the electoral-professional party, which pursued votes above all other goals, and in which the leadership was able to promote its vote-maximizing preferences through relying on a staff whose motivation was pecuniary rather than ideological. In short, the argument is that a principal-agent relationship has changed: the party is no longer the agent of other organizations, but has itself become a principal, with its own survival and prosperity as its fundamental goals. The old mass parties, with their relatively decentralized and democratic internal structures, are, it is claimed, becoming like 'post-modern cadre parties' (Wick and M6ller, 1997: 291). This article comprises a case study of the organizational changes and innovations in one European party, a mass party in the classic mould, and a highly long-lived and successful one: the Swedish Social Democrats.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: Total SAP membership
Figure 2: Membership trends in Swedish parties
Figure 3: Membership of SAP regions
Figure 4: Rate of membership maintenance in SAP regions, 1980-99
Figure 5: Membership levels in SAP branches
Figure 6: Number of basic units affiliating to SAP branches
Figure 7: Types of basic units affiliated to SAP's Umeå branch
Figure 8: Types of basic units affiliated to SAP's Kalmar branch
Figure 7: Types of basic units affiliated to SAP's Gothenburg branch
Figure 10: Types of basic units and votes in the general assembly in three SAP branches, 2000

Last Paragraph:
In conclusion, then, I offer the following thoughts. First, the end of collective membership has been part, if only a part, of a long-term change in the nature of SAP's relationship with the organized labour covered by LO's umbrella. The party does look less like a mass-type than it used to, but this development, when examined empirically at the local level, is patchy. The influence of the trade unions within the party remains significant, and is probably understated by the data on institutional presence and voting weight presented here. SAP still looks to be some way from being a voter party.