When it comes to party institutionalisation – at least for entrepreneurial right-wing protest parties -- leadership matters! That is the primary takeaway from this book.
Of the hundreds of new parties that have formed since the 1970s, many have fallen by the wayside, but others have gone on to reach institution-hood. And some of the latter have then met with decay and de-institutionalisation.
The experiences of the Progress Parties of Denmark and Norway – both of which institutionalised and one of which then de-institutionalised – shed important light on both topics.
While focusing particularly on those two cases, the authors develop conceptual and theoretical frameworks that are broadly applicable, as demonstrated in the final chapter and in an elaborate appendix.
Abbreviations / Preface / Part I: Introduction / 1. Introduction / 2. The Cases and their Contexts / Part II: Institutionalisation / 3. Party Institutionalisation: Concepts and Indicators / 4. Levels of Party Institutionalisation: The Progress Parties / 5. Institutionalisation: ‘Impediments’ and the Progress Parties / 6. Leadership and Institutionalisation of Entrepreneurial Protest Parties / 7. The Leadership Theory and the Progress Parties / Part III: De-Institutionalisation / 8. After Institutionhood: Concept, Theory, and Application of ‘De-Institutionalisation’ / Part IV: Conclusions / 9. Conclusions / Appendix: Comparative Cases / References / Index / About the Contributors
This is a fascinating study of how parties form, institutionalise and potentially de-institutionalise, which focuses on two key examples of new protest parties that (forming in the 1970s) were (rather unfortunately) trailblazers for others to follow.
In a period when traditional political parties face their worst crisis ever and entrepreneurial protest parties, both on the right (e.g. UKIP, ANEL) and on the left (e.g. Podemos, M5S), spring up like mushrooms across Europe, this excellent study on the causes of party de-institutionalization could have not been more timely. Conceptually sophisticated and methodologically sound, this book has everything to become a classic.
An impressive example of conceptual advancement applied to interesting cases. The authors use a detailed study of the Danish and Norwegian Progress Parties to shed new light on party institutionalization and party failure. They show that leadership matters when we want to understand why some parties succeed while others vanish.
Party institutionalization continues to capture the research curiosity of party scholars but this excellent book pushes the boundaries further by also examining the much less-studied twin concept of deinstitutionalization. This book is a careful and methodical study of these twin concepts and appropriately applied to shed light on the development of the Progress Parties of Norway and Denmark.
Robert Harmel is Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Lars Svåsand has been Professor at the Department of Politics, University of Bergen, Norway, and is currently Professor Emeritus at that institution.
Hilmar Mjelde is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen.