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Political Parties and Particularism I


Note: this is the course description for both “Political Parties and Particularism I” taught in block 1 and “Political Parties and Particularism II” taught in block 2.


The subject of this seminar is the particularistic behaviour of political parties. Many observers agree that particularistic exchanges, in the form of corruption, clientelism and patronage, have been on the rise in contemporary democracies and represent a threat to democratic legitimacy.

Part I of the course (in the 1st block) is devoted to conceptual and theoretical issues involved in the study of parties and political particularism. It starts with a general discussion of the changing nature of contemporary political parties and the place of particularism in this context. The course then moves on to explore the conceptual differences and empirical relationships between clientelism, patronage and corruption. Part I is concluded by a close examination of several empirical case studies of democracies where particularistic exchanges have been rampant.

Part II of the course (in the 2nd block) is devoted to (1) specific substantive topics related to parties and particularism and (2) issues and challenges in the research and study of party particularistic behaviour. Substantive topics include the relationship between patronage and corruption on the one hand, and party organisations, party system competition, and party finance regulation, on the other hand. The methodological part will focus on the different ways and methods to approach the study of particularistic behaviours, including the use of different types of data and methods of empirical inquiry.

Method of Instruction

Seminar discussions.

Study Material

1200 pp; titles TBA


Conceptual Essay (Part I)
Research Paper (Part II)
Seminar Presentations (Part I and II)

Tuesday 4 September, 13.00 -15.00 hrs, SA05
Tuesday 11 September till 16 October, 11.00 -13.00 hrs, SB19 (except 11 September SA35, 18 September SA15,
25 September 2B36, 16 October SA35)
Friday 26 October, 13.00-15.00 hrs, SA21