Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1,500 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 6,251 items for :

Clear All
Author:

The chapter applies the classical perspective to Alternativet. The primary aim is to gauge the extent to which the party has delivered on its promise of reinvigorating democracy through a ‘new political culture’. It chronicles the gradual emergence of Alternativet and its official launch in 2013. Focusing on democracy as a key theme in classical party research, the chapter analyses the role of Alternativet’s bottom-up policy-making in terms of constituting the party as a super-democratic antidote to traditional party organizations. Michels’ ‘iron law of oligarchy’ is then used to investigate how Alternativet has maintained its commitment to bottom-up (or ‘open-source’) policy-making. Here, we highlight the 2015 introduction of a new executive unit, political forum, and how it significantly altered the policy-making process and pushed the party in a direction that may be described as oligarchic. J Craig Jenkins’ concept of ‘radical oligarchy’ is drawn on to suggest that Alternativet’s leadership has managed to re-radicalize the party from time to time, although oligarchization is often associated with ideological conservatism and organizational self-preservation.

Restricted access
Author:

In this chapter, I apply the comparative perspective to Alternativet. The chapter explores similarities and differences between Alternativet and two other movement parties: Podemos in Spain and the Icelandic Pirate Party (Píratar). Since all three parties were founded within 15 months, I begin by outlining their histories and how they relate to one another. I then move on to consider the level of institutionalization achieved by each party, concluding that Alternativet and Podemos are currently more institutionalized than Píratar, but that the Icelandic political system provides a fertile ground for movement parties to thrive. Next, I compare the three parties in relation to the overall themes outlined in the previous chapter: political support, financial strength and intra-party democracy. I conclude that Alternativet is the only party that has managed to turn the tide in terms of political support, but that Podemos is the strongest party financially, and that Píratar is the most democratic party. I draw out insights across the three cases and discuss what movement parties elsewhere might learn from the analysis.

Restricted access
Author:

In this chapter, I apply the configurational perspective to Alternativet. I explore and map the structural anatomy the party as an organization, and clarify whether it fits into one of the ideal-typical configurations in the previous chapter. I start by moderating the party’s official origin story and challenge the ‘founding father’ narrative that characterizes most descriptions of Alternativet. Next, I go through each of the distinctions that Duverger uses to construct his general theory of party organization, thereby establishing Alternativet as a branch-based organization that relies directly on its members for support. In keeping with this diagnosis, I conclude that Alternativet is a highly decentralized organization in terms of authority structures, but that collaborative ties mostly run vertically. I further revisit some well-known party configurations and argue that Alternativet is best described as a combination of mass party (because of its branch-based structure) and movement party (because of its persistent focus on membership participation and deliberation), and that elements usually associated with the digital party support the party’s participationist stance.

Restricted access
Author:

This chapter applies the cultural perspective to Alternativet, to explore the norms and values that condition the inner life of the party. Drawing on Joanne Martin’s framework for cultural analysis, I explore the integrative, differential and fragmented aspects of Alternativet’s organizational culture(s). First, I explore how the party’s commitment to six core values and six debate principles creates an organizational culture that encourages ordinary members to read their own views into Alternativet as a political project, without preventing other members with different views from doing the same. This is a highly effective cultural set-up that I claim has assisted Alternativet in overcoming many thorny issues, including the ‘problem of particularization’. Next, I show how cultural differences emerged around the local elections in 2017, which effectively produced two distinct subcultures focused on the ‘party part’ and the ‘movement part’ of the organization. Finally, I explore how the deeply ambiguous foundation of Alternativet’s organization has helped keep members in line and on board, and how the party’s cultural set-up functions as a social control mechanism.

Restricted access
Author:

The chapter unfolds what I call the ‘classical perspective’. Drawing on the work of Moisei Ostrogorski and Robert Michels, I describe the classical perspective as a way of approaching the study of parties with a range of qualitative methods, including participant observation and personal communication, and focusing on the ability of political parties to deliver representative democracy. Classical studies conduct detailed empirical explorations of the inner life of party organizations to understand how power dynamics unfold. While Ostrogorski arguably pioneered the study of party organization with his meticulous descriptions of English and US parties in the late 1800s, Michels’ work has certainly had the most lasting effects on political science and social science. His ‘iron law of oligarchy’ has been used to describe the drift from horizontal to vertical modes in a wide range of organizations. Besides unfolding the work of both authors, I discuss what organization scholars might learn from engaging with them, highlighting the merits of the type of functional analysis that Ostrogorski employs and the strictly moral character of Michels’ writings as being particularly interesting.

Restricted access

When looking through the settler colonial framework, this chapter demonstrates how the building and establishment of exclusive White communities is maintained and reinforced. One way to understand how White communities are maintained is to focus on the narratives that White people use to make sense of their residential histories, tied to ideas about private property. Respondents shared histories about why they decided to move, live, and stay in Jamaica Plain. Their histories mainly highlighted their childhood neighbourhoods projected onto Jamaica Plain, which is vital to their sense of self, identity, and relationship to Jamaica Plain. This chapter shows that Whiteness is perpetually reproduced by those who fit into the narrow idea of community. Respondents often looked inward to what they meant by “community,” who they included, and what community means.

Restricted access
Author:

The chapter outlines the ‘comparative perspective’. Drawing on Panebianco’s comparative-historical theory, I describe the comparative perspective as a way of approaching the study of parties that focuses on a combination of historical factors – whether the party was founded through a process of territorial penetration or diffusion, whether it is characterized by charismatic leadership and whether it has a strong external sponsor – and environmental factors – whether the institutional context is characterized by stability or instability, simplicity or complexity, liberality or hostility. Combining these allows scholars to assess how institutionalized a party is. Next, I consider some widely researched topics within the comparative perspective, focusing on political support (voters and members), financial resources (income and spending) and intra-party democracy (membership participation and representation). In relation to each theme, I survey key contributions to the field and outline how I intend to work with these in the following chapter, where I compare Alternativet with Podemos in Spain and the Icelandic Pirate Party. In conclusion, I outline what organization scholars might learn from engaging with comparative party research.

Restricted access

This concluding chapter extends the utility of the term gensociocide to speak about the devastating consequences of emplacing a White-middle-class ethos into place and space by highlighting the importance of private property. By showing key examples, the case is made that gensociocide provides language to be able to speak about the devastating consequences of gentrification, that is, the emplacement of Whiteness and White supremacy. Miguel Montalva Barba uses his own immigration experience to address the violence that gensocioside produces.

Restricted access
Author:

The chapter unfolds what I call the ‘configurational perspective’. Drawing on Maurice Duverger, I describe this perspective as a way of approaching the study of parties that is much more systematic and formalized than the classical perspective. Configurational scholars focus on the structural anatomy of parties, using the premise that it is the organization rather than the ideology that distinguishes parties from one another. As such, the goal for configurational research is often to categorize parties as belonging to an organizational ideal type such as the mass, catch-all or movement party. I begin by outlining Duverger’s general theory of party organization. Among other things, I focus on his concept of ‘basic elements’ (caucus, branch, cell, militia) and clarify how parties are typically based on one of these elements. In the latter part of the chapter, I survey the post-Duvergerian literature and outline seven ideal-typical configurations that authors have identified in empirical studies of parties as organizations. In conclusion, I discuss what organization scholars might learn from engaging with configurational party research.

Restricted access
Author:

The chapter outlines the cultural perspective. This represents a rather novel approach to political parties. I argue that this is an area where organization scholars have something to offer political scientists in terms of parties. Drawing on the work of Joanne Martin, I describe the cultural perspective as a way of approaching the study of party organization that focuses on the norms and values that condition the inner life of parties. Instead of assuming that parties only have one culture or a couple of subcultures, I use Martin’s framework to unfold how party cultures can be integrative, differential and fragmented. Some norms and values might be clearly defined and shared by all members of the party; others might seem inconsistent or ambiguous and cause intra-party conflicts or confusion. Next, I draw on the notions of normative and neo-normative control to show how party cultures can function as social control mechanisms. In conclusion, I discuss what political scientists working with party organizations might learn from engaging more deeply with cultural research.

Restricted access