Representation and participation in the changing world of party politics
The 20th-century has been the century of mass politics, and the mass parties that emerged at the beginning of this century became deeply rooted within wider society. The passing of this golden age of the party has now been marked by two distinct processes of change. On the one hand, parties have become more distant from society and more closely linked to government and the state. On the other hand, there has been a decline in the political identities of the parties, such that voters now find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between them. These changes, and the related transformation of politics into administration, have led to a growth in popular indifference to parties and to politics in general, as well as to a declining sense of engagement. Should this trend continue, it is mass spectacle rather than mass involvement that is likely to characterize the future of mass politics.
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