Explaining Party Activism: The Case of the British Conservative Party

  title={Explaining Party Activism: The Case of the British Conservative Party},
  author={Paul Whiteley and Patrick Seyd and Jeremy J. Richardson and Paul Bissell},
  journal={British Journal of Political Science},
  pages={79 - 94}
In common with most other mass democratic parties the Conservative party has a large group of active members who sustain the party over time. A model is developed to explain variations in activism within the party, which takes account of the ‘paradox of participation’. The results, based on the first national random sample survey of Conservative party members, show that activism is motivated by three classes of factors. Activism is motivated, firstly, by a variety of selective incentives, such… 

Does policy motivation drive party activism? A study of party activists in three Asian democracies

Studies of party activism highlight that party activists are driven by various motivations and that these affect their level of activism. However, it remains unclear whether policy-motivated

Are Party Activists the Party Extremists? The Structure of Opinion in Political Parties

In re-examining May’s law of curvilinear disparity, this article analyzes the structure of opinion of political parties. May suggests that voters, party leaders and party activists have diierent

Comparing Incentives and Party Activism in US and Europe: PSOE, PP and the California Democratic Party

This paper analyses the incentives of party activists to become involved in the party life. In the last decades, the research on party activism has developed several and relevant works that shed

Party Members, Discontent, and Theories of Political Participation

This paper focuses on discontent among party members. Taking Belgium as a case-study, this paper investigates two dimensions of discontent: external political efficacy and specific support. The

Party Members in a Three-Party Election

The political parties in the United States do not have formal members as is common in most other Western democracies. We suggest direct-mail contributors are similar to party members in many

Political party activism in Ghana: factors influencing the decision of the politically active to join a political party

This article analyses the factors that influence some Ghanaians to join a political party and become active in the party. It seeks to illuminate the multi-dimensionality of the motivational basis of

Party membership and Discontent

This paper focuses on discontent among party members. Taking Belgium as a case-study, the paper investigates two dimensions of discontent: the sense of external political efficacy and the level of

Rationality and party activism: Encompassing tests of alternative models of political participation

The purpose of this paper is to test a rational actor model of political participation against rival models to see which provides the best theoretical account of participation. This is done using


The article analyses the evolution of party membership and party activism in Europe in the last twenty years. Our aim is twofold. Firstly, we provide a new typology of different modes of affiliation

The Party in Time

Trends of falling membership and support spell a time of crisis for political parties, possibly of transformation. Dilemmas of principle arise: should partisans revise their normative commitments in



The Internal Politics of Parties: The Law of Curvilinear Disparity Revisited

One of the few efforts to link systemic and organizational determinants of party strategies is provided by what John May dubbed the ‘law of curvilinear disparity’. According to this law, voters,

A Map of Political Participation in Britain

WHEREVER ONE TAKES A POSITION IN THE GREAT DEBATE between representative and participatory democrats it is clear that no democracy can function without the involvement of its citizens. What is at

Opinion Structure of Political Parties: The Special Law of Curvilinear Disparity

A GENERAL theory of political party structure is expounded below. The theory is general in that it covers most parties operating where open, organized, electoral competition is institutionalized, and

Postmaterialism, Collective Action, and Political Protest

This paper examines the effects of postmaterialism on political protest by applying the theory of collective action. From the perspective of this theory, postmaterialism is a set of preferences for a

Rational Choice and Rebellious Collective Action

A basic problem for a rational choice theory of rebellious collective action is to explain why average citizens would participate in such behavior, since they have nothing to gain (they will receive


National middle-level party elites have begun to claim control over their leadership's transnational engagements particularly since preparations for the first European Elections have greatly

Discontent and the Expected Utility of Rebellion: The Case of Peru

Discontent theories of rebellion postulate that politicized discontent will have a strong independent effect on individuals' potential to participate in rebellious political action. Expected utility

Personal Influence, Collective Rationality, and Mass Political Action

We propose two models to explain why individuals participate in collective political action—a personal influence model and a collective rationality model. Each model overcomes the free-rider problem

Rebellious Collective Action Revisited

Why does it happen that ordinary people can come to participate in rebellious collective action? In the June 1986 issue of this Review, Edward N. Muller and Karl-Dieter Opp argued a public-goods

Collective action as an agreeable N-prisoners''dilemma

The problem of collective action to produce a group collective good is analyzed as the game of Individual vs. Collective and then as an n-person game to show that, under the constraints of Mancur