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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Just what are political parties? If they are not strictly hierarchical organizations but nonetheless manage to coordinate and control much of politics, how do they do so? This chapter looks at the use of network theory and methodology to examine modern political parties. The authors survey the history of research utilizing a network approach to studying parties. They suggest how a network model surpasses some of the limitations of the familiar tripartite party model of the parties in government, in elections, and as organization. The authors advocates further research on how network parties make collective decisions, why American parties are organized as networks, and how they evolve.

Keywords: political party, party network, party organization, interest groups, campaign finance, US Congress, presidential campaign

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