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Elites in check? Challenges to party democracy from a longitudinal and experimental perspective

Grant number: 20/14153-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - State and Government
Principal Investigator:Pedro José Floriano Ribeiro
Grantee:Vinícius Silva Alves
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):23/05985-7 - Elites in check? Challenges to party democracy from a longitudinal and experimental perspective, BE.EP.PD


Party organizations in contemporary democracies face the challenge of promoting the recruitment and mobilization of affiliates in an environment that questions political parties' legitimacy. In an attempt to adapt to the environment, the direct participation of affiliates has been discussed to rescue the credibility of the parties, privileging the empowerment of the bases to the detriment of the intermediate party elites. In this sense, the project proposes investigating whether the intermediate elites differ from other party members in their political preferences, democratic values, and whether they understand party engagement differently. After all, what would we be missing out with the decline of intermediate elites? The project acknowledges this theoretical gap and proposes to conduct a panel nationwide survey with affiliates and leaders, in three annual waves, for the collection of observational and experimental data. We test whether there is a curvilinear distribution of political attitudes among the occupants of different strata of a party regarding the intensity of their political preferences, perceptions about the legitimacy of democratic institutions, and views on political parties' functioning. Thus, through this theoretical-analytical approach, the project will advance the discussion on the challenges arising from the expansion and adoption of a model of direct participation by party organizations, which can radiate profound transformations in how parties operate in contemporary democracies. (AU)

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