The Crisis of Party Democracy, Cognitive Mobilization, and the Case for Making Parties More Deliberative


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Type of work: Article (academic)


Politics and Political Science


deliberative democracy


The much-discussed crisis of political parties poses a challenge to democratic theorists as institutional designers: how can the capacity of parties to mediate between society and state be resuscitated? In this article, we suggest that parties need to become more internally deliberative, allowing partisans to debate policy and more general visions for the polity.We outline a prescriptive model of deliberative intraparty democracy, drawing on the empirical literature on the changing structure of civic and political engagement. We argue that deliberative reforms are the most appropriate response to the demands of an increasingly more cognitively mobilized citizenry which seeks self-expression and nonhierarchical forms of political engagement.