POL42510 Party Organisation in the 21st Century

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course covers political party organisation and its consequences for party behaviour, descriptive representation and policy outputs. The module begins with a review of the most recent literature on the core aspects of party organisation, levels of centralisation, membership, financing and modes of intra-party democracy. The course then reviews the various consequences of party organisation for the representation of women, on locus of power within parties and party policy development.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course students will
- Be able to distinguish the key aspects of party organisation
- Be thoroughly conversant with the most up to date research on all aspects of party organisation
- Understand the impact party organisation on party behaviour and its knock-on effect for descriptive representation and party policies.
- Have assessed and critiqued the debates on the legitimacy of political parties, especially in the context of the use of new technology for intra-party democracy
- Understand political parties as a unit of analysis and the importance of this approach in understanding in-country variation of party behaviour and representation.
- Have developed student’s independent research capabilities
- Have an awareness of the most up to date datasets of political parties and the quantitative and qualitative methods of comparing and analysing political parties
- Have enhanced teamwork, presentation and writing skills

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures. In-class work in pairs and groups. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Written review of randomly chosen classmate’s research outline Unspecified n/a Graded No


Assignment: Written outline of research on political party design Unspecified n/a Graded No


Assignment: Research paper with comparative component Unspecified n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individually to students, provided within 20 days of the deadline of assignments, in line with UCD regulations.