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The Personalization of Democratic Politics and the Challenge for Political Parties

The Personalization of Democratic Politics and the Challenge for Political Parties

William P. Cross | Richard S. Katz | Scott Pruysers


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The implications of the personalization of politics are necessarily widespread and can be found across many different aspects of contemporary democracies. Personalization should influence the way campaigns are waged, how voters determine their preferences, how officials (e.g., MPs) and institutions (e.g., legislatures and governments) function, and the place and operations of political parties in democratic life. However, in an effort to quantify the precise degree of personalization over time and to uncover the various causes of personalization, the existing literature has paid little attention to many of the important questions regarding the consequences of personalization. While the chapters throughout this volume certainly document the extent of personalization, they also seek to address some fundamental questions about the nature of personalization, how it is manifested, and its consequences for political parties, governance, representation, and the state of democracy more generally. Indeed, one of the primary objectives of this volume is to speak to a very broad audience about the implications of personalization. Those interested in election campaigns, voting, gender, governance, legislative behaviour, and political parties will all find something of value in the contributions that follow.
At a time when populist politics appears to threaten party government this important volume explores the impact of the balance between the personal and the partisan in structuring and managing electoral choice and governance. Its sophisticated studies survey the challenges raised by personalism for democratic politics and define a research frontier for those concerned with the future of political parties.
R. Kenneth Carty, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, The University of British Columbia
William P. Cross is Professor and Bell Chair for the Study of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy at Carleton University.

Richard S. Katz is Professor of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was co-editor of the European Journal of Political Research (2006-2012)

Scott Pruysers is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Half title i
Series page ii
Title page iii
Copyright page iv
Contents v
List of Figures vii
List of Tables ix
Acknowledgements xi
Chapter 1 1
Personalism, Personalization and Party Politics 1
Personalization and Personalized Politics 5
Our Animating Questions and Key Themes 10
Structure of the Book 14
Notes 16
Chapter 2 19
Personalization, Personalism and Electoral Systems 19
Electoral Systems and (Decentralized) Personalization 20
A Trend towards More Personalized Electoral Systems in Europe 25
The Origins of Electoral Systems Personalization 28
Exploring the Consequences of Personalized Electoral Systems 31
Conclusions: Electoral Systems, Personalization and the Role of Political Parties 36
Note 38
Chapter 3 39
The Personalization of Parliamentary Elections?1 39
The Increasingly Important Role of Leaders in Elections? 40
Data and Analysis 43
Attitudes about Party Leaders in Britain and Canada 44
Effects of Party Leaders on Vote Choice 48
Conclusions 52
Notes 54
Chapter 4 57
Personalism and Election Campaigning 57
Data and Case1 59
Personalization and the ‘Party’ Campaign 60
Personalization and the ‘Local’ Campaign 67
Conclusions 74
Notes 76
Chapter 5 79
Primaries and the Personalization of Party Leadership 79
The Primary Model: US Primaries 82
Methods of Leadership Selection 84
Conclusions 98
Notes 100
Chapter 6 103
Personalized Politics Online 103
Offline and Online Personalized Politics in the Controlled Media and in Voters’ Behaviour: A Comparison 105
Research Questions and Hypotheses 107
Methodology 110
Findings of the Cross-National Comparison 112
Personalized Politics of Facebook Posts: The Israeli Case 121
Conclusions 123
Notes 123
Chapter 7 125
Party Organization and Personalization 125
Party Organization and Personalization: A Top-Down Perspective 126
Personalization and Individual Participation: A ‘Bottom-Up’ View 131
Empirical Evidence of \nBottom-Up Personalization 133
Conclusions: The Consequences of Bottom-Up \nPersonalization for Party Organizations 139
Note 142
Chapter 8 143
Exploring the Role of Decentralized \nPersonalization for Legislative Behaviour and Constituency Representation1 143
Theoretical Framework 145
Case Selection 150
Data 152
Constituency Service Enhanced by Campaign Personalization 153
Conclusions 159
Notes 160
Chapter 9 163
Personalization, Personal Authority and Governance1 163
The Core Executive 166
Leadership 168
Personal Authority in the Westminster Model 171
Discussion 176
Conclusions: Personal Authority and Parties 178
Note 179
Chapter 10 181
Presidentialization, Personalization and Populism 181
The Presidentialization Thesis 182
Presidentialization and Personalization 191
The Future of Presidentialization and Party Government 195
Chapter 11 197
Personalism, Personalization and Gender 197
Gendering Personalism and Personalization 198
Institutional Personalism, Personalization and Gender 201
Media Personalism, Personalization, and Gender 204
Behavioural Personalism, Personalization and Gender 207
The Problem of Privatization 209
Conclusions 212
Notes 213
Chapter 12 215
Personalization, Party Government and Democracy 215
Personalization at the Top 220
Personalization in Parliament and Parliamentary Elections 224
Personalization within Parties 227
Personalization and Representation 228
Conclusions 229
Notes 231
References 233
Index 261
About the Contributors 275