New Local Politics: Parties, Mayors and Councillors in Western Europe
Panel co-sponsored by the Italian Politics and Local Politics Specialist Groups of the PSA
Convenors: Oscar Mazzoleni (Lausanne) and Duncan McDonnell (Birmingham/Torino)
Deadline for paper proposals: 17 September 2010
Party change and crisis has been a key theme for political science in recent decades, in particular as regards the capacity of Western European parties to adapt to a series of new structural challenges. One of the less explored of these challenges is that posed by the introduction of direct election for mayors, the strengthening of local executives and the weakening of council chambers. With the focus on single personalities rather than parties during campaigns and greater (at least formal) independence for mayors and their executives, party elites and representatives at local level have had to contend with a new set of structures and opportunities influencing not only their relationship with local government, but also with local party members and voters. The aim of this panel therefore is to consider these issues by looking, in particular, at the following inter-related questions:
· In those contexts where directly-elected mayors have been introduced in recent decades, what effects has this had on the relationships between parties and candidates/mayors?
· What effects has the strengthening of local executives had on relationships between parties and mayors/executives?
· What effects have all the above had on the role of local councillors?
· What effects have the changes in local politics had on party organizations and memberships at grassroots level?
· What effects have the changes in local politics had on party campaigning, candidate selection and funding?
· How do relationships between parties, councillors and mayors function in those countries which have had directly-elected mayors and more independent executives for many decades? How are the roles and actions of parties at local level different?
We welcome papers on single city/party case-studies and those which adopt comparative national/cross-national/cross-party perspectives. Preference however will be given to those papers which are based on original empirical research.
Those wishing to participate should send their paper title, affiliation and contact details along with an abstract of no more than 200 words by 17 September 2010 to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
For more information, please visit the conference website at http://www.psa.ac.uk/2011/.