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Shlomit Barnea and Gideon Rahat, "'Out with the old, in with the ''new''': What constitutes a new party?" Party Politics, 17 (May, 2011), 303-320. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol17/issue3/ ]

First paragraph:
Questions of stability, continuity, development and change lie at the core of institutional analysis. Some argue that the development of the discipline itself was shaped by attempts to account for institutional change, or the lack thereof (Blyth and Varghese, 1999). The analysis of these questions in the party politics literature developed in several directions. One centred on the development and change of party models or types (Aldrich, 1995; Blyth and Katz, 2005; Katz and Mair, 1993, 1994, 1995; Kirchheimer, 1966). Another analysed development and change at the intra-party level (Bille, 2001; Caul-Kittilson and Scarrow, 2003; Scarrow et al., 2000). And, finally, the analysis of stability, continuity and change at the party system level has become a central concern for scholars of party politics. Building on the foundations set by V. O. Key (1955, 1959; see also Burnham, 1991: 115-16), scholars have attempted to develop a framework for the classification and periodicity of party systems (and, possibly, the political system in general) based on the notion of critical, realigning elections. Realignment theory and, later, the added 'dealignment' argument, as developed in both the American (Aldrich, 1995; Burnham, 1965, 1970, 1991; Paulson, 2000) and European contexts (Bartolini and Mair, 1990; Dalton, 1984, 2002; Dalton et al., 1984; Mair, 1997), became a bone of contention in the literature, being blamed (among other things) for exaggerating the scope of acclaimed changes and disregarding continuity (Mayhew, 2002; Ware, 2006)..

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. The analytical framework for measurement of party 'newness'
Figure 1. Aggregate volatility in Israel 1949-2006: Kadima as a new party
Figure 2. Aggregate volatility in Israel 1949-2006: Kadima as a faction of Likud

Last Paragraph:
Whether one adopts our definitions or prefers yet another one, it should be clearer now that the question of newness is not simply semantic. Rather, this is a central question that must be addressed when engaging in the analyses of political dynamics: stability, continuity, development or change. That is, such research should begin with a transparent and precise conceptualization and operationalization of newness. Should we reach the point where we have widely agreed-upon working definitions (as with Dahl's definition of democracy), we will be in an even better position to communicate and advance research.

Last updated April 2011