Political Parties as Institutions

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Political Parties as institutions. How can organization analysis and or institutionalism help us understand differences between party systems?

Institutions are set of established rules guiding a group. It could be as informal as simple collectively shared ideas or norms to as formal as organized legislative laws or bodies. Institutions are distinctive and hence differ from one another. Defining institution in political science and in terms of political parties has been a difficult thing to do because there hasn’t been any clarity with what sought of political organizations constitutes a political party (Guy Peters 129).

Through the study of institutionalism differences in the parties and party systems has been made more conspicuous. Institutionalism formed the basis of studies in political science. In Political science perspective institutionalism is the study of how politics are structured and decided by laws, regulations, and rules. During the aftermath of the Second World War, political scientist have relegated and for that reason rejected institutionalism and leaned more towards the theoretical approaches of behaviourism and rational choice. These two approaches propounded that individual’s act autonomously as individuals and made choices without serious constrains by formal and informal institutions (Guy Peters 1).

After heightened consideration for the need for collectivism and study of interaction between individuals in the society, a new form of Institutionalism has been introduced; Neo or New institutionalism. There isn’t only one single form of institutionalism. It could be normative, Historical, Empirical, Sociological e.tc. The difference emphasises the different definitions various school of thoughts give to institutions.

As popularly acclaimed “institutions keep society from falling apart” (Jon Elster 1940), in the same light I reckon parties and party system play a role in putting checks and structure to the society. Political parties...
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