Political parties

Political parties are key players in politics. Research of GASPAR is focused on both party ideology and party organisation. Regarding the former, we focus on the content and effects of party ideologies, as well as on changes in ideologies. Regarding the latter, we study organisational change (including professionalisation, Europeanisation and democratisation) and the roles and attitudes of party members. In both research areas, parties are studied both in themselves and within the broader institutional framework in which they operate (with a particular focus on multilevel governance).

To study these topics, we use both quantitative (surveys, experiments, text analyses and social network analyses) and qualitative (interviews) methods. We study these phenomena both in Belgium and in international-comparative perspective.

Keywords: election manifestos, ideology, party membership surveys, leadership primaries, party change, party staff, party structures, professionalisation, europeanisation and democratisation.