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How Party Activism Survives

Book description

Political parties with activists are in decline due to various external shocks. Societal changes, like the emergence of new technologies of communication have diminished the role and number of activists, while party elites increasingly can make do without grassroots activists. However, recent scholarship concerning different democracies has shown how activism still matters for representation. This book contributes to this literature by analyzing the unique case of the Uruguayan Frente Amplio (FA), the only mass-organic, institutionalized leftist party in Latin America. Using thick description, systematic process tracing, and survey research, this case study highlights the value of an organization-centered approach for understanding parties' role in democracy. Within the FA, organizational rules grant activists a significant voice, which imbues activists' participation with a strong sense of efficacy. This book is an excellent resource for scholars and students of Latin America and comparative politics who are interested in political parties and the challenges confronting new democracies.

Reviews

'This must-read book provides a crucial glimpse of the way one contemporary political party has maintained a vibrant base of constituents even as other parties have emaciated their grassroots infrastructure. This carefully researched, utterly innovative book helps us understand how political parties can help rebuild democracy in the twenty-first century.'

Hahrie Han - Johns Hopkins University

'This book reveals the organizational traits and forms of activism that have made Uruguay's Frente Amplio one of the most resilient leftist parties in Latin America. By explaining how party activism survives, it challenges conventional wisdom about the decline of mass party organizations and their participatory grassroots structures.'

Kenneth M. Roberts - Cornell University

'The theoretical implications of this study are far-reaching. The authors identify the selective and collective incentives that bring activists to invest their effort on party activities. They test their theory using the largest survey of activists implemented in Latin America, text analysis of party-meeting documents, and process-tracing of party administration.'

Maria Victoria Murillo - Columbia University

'Using rich, new evidence about one of Latin America’s most successful left parties and a sophisticated, multi-method approach, the authors explain why Uruguay’s Frente Amplio has been able to avoid oligarchization, challenging conventional wisdom, and remind us of the ways in which party activism invigorates democracy and improves policy formation.'

Jennifer Pribble - University of Richmond

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