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The Meaning of Partisanship

For a century at least, parties have been central to the study of politics. Yet their typical conceptual reduction to a network of power-seeking elites has left many to wonder why parties were ever thought crucial to democracy. This book seeks to retrieve a richer conception of partisanship, drawing on modern political thought and extending it in the light of contemporary democratic theory and practice. Looking beyond the party as organization, the book develops an original account of what it is to be a partisan. It examines the ideas, orientations, obligations, and practices constitutive of partisanship properly understood, and how these intersect with the core features of democratic life. Such an account serves to underline in distinctive fashion why democracy needs its partisans, and puts in relief some of the key trends of contemporary politics.
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About the Author

Jonathan White is Associate Professor (Reader) in European Politics at the LSE. He gained his doctorate at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, and has been a visiting scholar at the Institute of Advanced Studies (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Sciences Po in Paris, the Australian National University, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and University College London. He holds masters degrees from the EUI and the University of Cambridge, and a first-class BA from the University of Oxford. His work has appeared in American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Political Studies, Modern Law Review, Political Theory, Journal of Common Market Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, and the British Journal of Sociology. He is also the author of Political Allegiance after European Integration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). Lea Ypi is Associate Professor in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. She is the author of Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency (Oxford University Press 2012), and co-editor of Kant and Colonialism (with Katrin Flikschuh, Oxford University Press 2014) and Migration in Political Theory (with Sarah Fine, Oxford University Press, 2016). Her articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, including Philosophy and Public Affairs, The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, and the Journal of Political Philosophy. She co-edits the Journal of Political Philosophy.


"This is a demanding book, but one that is thoughtful and carefully worked out. Its focus on the broad principles parties espouse is a much-needed and very valuable addition to the literature on parties." -- CHOICE -This is a demanding book, but one that is thoughtful and carefully worked out. Its focus on the broad principles parties espouse is a much-needed and very valuable addition to the literature on parties.- -- CHOICE

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