Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 10, issue 4

Karina Pedersen, Lars Bille, Roger Buch, Jørgen Elklit, Bernhard Hansen and Hans Jørgen Nielsen, "Sleeping or Active Partners? Danish Party Members at the Turn of the Millennium," Party Politics, 10 (July 2004), 367-383.

First Paragraph:
The Danish conception of party organization has traditionally been membership-oriented. The purpose of creating and maintaining membership structures was to establish a means by which voters could communicate their interests and viewpoints to party representatives in national, regional and local governments, to mobilize and encapsulate the voters and to create a stable source of party income. During the first half of the twentieth century, parties' legitimacy and representativeness came to rest more and more upon their ability to form -- and maintain -- strong membership organizations.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Gender of members (2000-1) and voters (1998) (percentages)
Table 2. Age of members (2000-1) and voters (1998) (percentages)
Table 3. Educational levels of members (2000-1) and voters (1998) (percentages)
Table 4. Average time spent by party members on party activities in a month (percentages)
Table 5. Meeting attendance of party members at the local level (percentages)
Table 6. Members' participation in selected election-campaign activities (percentages)
Table 7. The outreach contribution of party members (percentages)
Table 8. Recruitment potential for public office of party members (percentages)

First and Last Paragrapha of Conclusion:
The primary purpose of this article is to present an overview of current Danish party members. We have found that members enrol primarily because of the ideology and national policies of their party, and because they want to support that party. In general, the reasons members give for enrolling in a party are more ideological, collective and altruistic than they are selective. We have also found that, compared to their party's voters, members are not gender and age representative, but to a large extent are representative in educational terms.

The absolute decline in membership and the relative decline in activism mean that Danish parties may experience problems in fulfilling their role as legitimate channels of participation and thereby as a linkage between society and government.