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Party Reform

Party Reform is a new comparative study of the politics of party organization. The book provides a novel perspective in party scholarship and develops the concept of 'reform' as distinct from evolutionary and incremental processes of party change. As an outcome, reform is captured in deliberate and often very public changes to parties' organizational rules and processes. As a process, it offers a party the opportunity to 're-brand' and publicly alter its image, to emphasize certain strategic priorities over others, and to alter relationships of power within the party. Analyzing the last ten years of party reform across a handful of established democracies including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, the book examines what motivates political parties to undertake organizational reforms and how they go about this process. Party Reform reveals how parties' perceptions of the social trends in which they operate shape reform agendas, and how this relates to competitive demands and pressures from within the party for organizational change. In addition to the motivations for reform, the book is equally concerned with the process of reform. The book demonstrates that declining party memberships have had a fundamental effect on the way in which political parties 'sell' organizational reform: as part of a broader rhetoric of democratization, of re-engagement, and of modernization delivered to diverse audiences - both internal and external to the party. The chapters focus particularly on four key reform initiatives that begin to blur the traditional boundaries of party: the introduction of primaries, the changing meaning of party membership, issues-based online policy development, and community organizing campaigns. Using these cutting-edge developments as primary examples, this book provides a framework for understanding why, and how, reforms occur, and what the consequences might be - in terms of how we think about modern political parties as vehicles for participation and representation. Comparative Politics is a series for researchers, teachers, and students of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterised by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit: The series is edited by Emilie van Haute, Professor of Political Science, Universite libre de Bruxelles; Ferdinand Muller-Rommel, Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University; and Susan Scarrow, Chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Houston.
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About the Author

Anika Gauja is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at Sydney University, teaching in Comparative and Australian politics. Her research interests focus on the comparative analysis of political institutions in modern representative democracies. Her publications include The Politics of Party Policy (2013, Palgrave Macmillan), Political Parties and Elections (2010, Ashgate), and Party Members and Activists (co-edited with Emilie van Haute, 2015, Routledge).

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