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Political Parties and Interest Groups

Political Science
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

This course focuses on understanding the origins of political parties and interest groups. Also focuses on the evolution of political parties and the relation between them and interest groups. So with this course it is expected that students can understand what is a political party and an interest group as well understand the role interest can have in democracy. It is divided in two parts, the first one about the political parties and the second one about the interest groups and with some reaction to the political parties.

Course Content

1. The study of political parties and party systems

  a) Origins and historical evolution of parties: from notable parties to catch-all parties

  b) New parties: organizational and programmatic innovations

  c) Political Parties and Interest Groups

  d) Populist parties

  e) The crisis of the parties and the problem of legitimacy

  f) The typologies of party systems: Duverger, Sartori and Mair

  g) The evolution of party systems: misalignment or realignment?

  h) The institutionalization of party systems in the new democracies

  i) The Portuguese party system: characteristics and evolution

2. The study of organizations of interest: theoretical and empirical approaches

  a) Definitions and functions of interest groups

  b) The pluralist theory of interest groups

  c) Corporatism and neo-corporatism

  d) Neo-pluralist theories

  e) Stakeholder mobilization strategies

  f) The lobby and the influence of interest groups

  g) Interest groups, European Union and Europeanization

  h) Parties, groups and articulation of interests in political regimes

  i) Interest groups in Portugal


Baumgartner,F. and Leech , B. , Basic interests: the importance of groups in politics and social science, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1998.

Lehmbruch, G. and Schmitter, P. , (dir.), Patterns of Corporatist Policy-Making, Londres, Sage, 1982.

Mair, P., Party System Change. Approaches and Interpretations, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997.

Ware, A. , Political Parties, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997

Thomas S. , C. , Political Parties and Interest Groups: Shaping Democratic Governance, 2001