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Elin Haugsgjerd Allern and Tim Bale, "Conclusion: Qualifying the common wisdom," Party Politics, 18 (January, 2012), 99-106. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
It is widely agreed that the relationships between parties and interest groups help shape the nature of democratic governance. Those relationships are also a key aspect in the literature on the development of party organization and are an integral part of what are widely seen as the two most influential ideas about political parties to have been produced in the past fifty years--Kirchheimer's 'catch-all thesis' and the 'cartel party thesis' developed by Katz and Mair. sue).

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Last Paragraph:
Developments that, in theory, make parties independent of civil society do not seem to have weakened, nor are they currently weakening, party-group links across the board. Here we have not discussed what, if anything, this tells us about the extent to which party systems are, in fact, based on tacit inter-party collusion. Indeed, two of the countries studied are not cases of the cartel thesis as such. But even if established parties in democratic systems do 'limit' party competition institutionally and ideologically, the question arises as to whether they are still largely dependent on interest groups to seek power successfully or whether they feel the need to keep or (as Yishai [2001: 670-1] suggests) to re-incorporate society into, politics? Today's volatile voter--and therefore stable access to public revenues--is hard to lock in. Through interest groups, parties may still mobilize their constituencies, seek regular financial support and get access to valuable political information. The key question to explore in future research is perhaps not whether but how parties and interest groups are linked--or interact--as organizations in contemporary democracies?

Last updated December 2011