Elin H Allern and Tim Bale,
"Political parties and interest groups: Disentangling
complex relationships," Party Politics, 18 (January,
2012), 7-25. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue1/
Party politics has always been about the representation of
interests as well as the clash of ideas. In established
democracies, many political parties emerged from social
movements in opposition to the political establishment, and
some political parties were even formally founded by
interest groups (Duverger, 1954/1972; Panebianco, 1988).
Even more used interest groups to communicate with their
main constituencies. In the late nineteenth century, strong
links were established between socialist parties and trade
unions in Europe (see, e.g., Duverger, 1954/1972: 17 ff.;
Padgett and Paterson, 1991: 177-85). Close relationships
also existed between agrarian parties and farmers' unions,
and between religious parties and organizations (e.g.
Duverger, 1954/1972: 5-7; von Beyme, 1985: 192). Later,
conservative parties and, among others, business
associations established alliances (Schmitter, 2001: 82).
For all this, however, only limited research has been
conducted on such links to date (Allern, 2010; Thomas,
2001b, c; Warner, 2003).
- Figures and
- Table 1. Alternative conceptualizations of
party-interest group relationship*
(Next to last paragraph) The substantive articles of this
special issue examine the nature of political parties'
relationships with other organizations in different
countries. Via four comparative, or implicitly comparative,
case studies--which cover both northern and southern Europe
Allern and Bale 19 Downloaded from ppq.sagepub.com by
Kenneth Janda on December 16, 2011and hence polities dealt
with by the cartel thesis itself and newer
democracies--party- interest group links are examined across
both time and space. In sum, we believe, they (further)
qualify the common wisdom inspired by the cartel party
thesis and related arguments that today's political parties
generally have tenuous links to interest groups. By adopting
a range of understandings and indicators, the articles also
allow us to critically examine the rather fuzzy concept of