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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This discussion of the relationship between political parties and social movements starts out with the conventional view of the political process approach by conceptualizing the parties as part of the political context the configuration of which is determined by the institutional structure. It then moves on to consider parties as social movement organizations. Finally, it goes one step further by also taking into account the effect of social movements on party systems. Some social movements have the capacity to fundamentally transform individual parties and entire party systems. This kind of impact is, of course, not given to any kind of movement, but only to important movements capable of expanding the scope of conflict society-wide. More generally, the chapter attempts to show that the borderline between insiders (political parties) and outsiders (social movements) in politics is not as clear-cut as is often assumed by social movement scholars.

Keywords: political parties, allies, party systems, electoral systems, institutional context, transformation of party system

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