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Tània Verge, "Party strategies towards civil society in new democracies: The Spanish case," Party Politics, 18 (January, 2012), 45-60. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Changes in party relationships with interest groups in established democracies have long been examined by researchers. From Kirchheimer (1966) to Katz and Mair (1995) the decline of the historically integrated relationships between parties and social organizations has been used to document party transformation--either from mass to catch-all parties or from catch-all to cartel parties. To those who accept the latter, parties have turned towards the state to secure resources and have become detached from society, having no interest in forging more than tenuous links with social groups. However, empirical research suggests that, although contemporary party-interest group relationships may seem rather weak, detachment is far from evident (Yishai, 2001), and there is no single pattern across or within countries regarding the number and intensity of formal and informal links, overlapping memberships and ideological closeness (Allern, 2010; Poguntke, 2002; Thomas, 2001; Wilson, 1990)

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Party strategies towards interest group

Last Paragraph:
(Last two paragraphs) This article has mapped parties' strategies towards interest groups in a new democracy with their corresponding links and rationales. Although the socio-economic and political circumstances faced by new democracies might lead us to expect parties to disregard linkages with civil society, the empirical analysis has shown that Spanish parties, at least, are interested in interaction with (and even dominance over) social organizations and have established several linkages with a broad array of social groups.

Party-interest group relationships have varied more over time than across parties. Indeed, it seems that changes in civil society impact on how parties organize their links with groups. That said, existing differences across parties appear to be related to their organizational starting points and ideology. Given the literature's persisting deficit on party-civil society relationships, scholars should undertake empirical analyses which shed light on the factors that shape these relationships, and reflect on how and why they change over time and what parties use them for.

Last updated December 2011