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Political Parties and Democracy in the City

When: Friday, March 29, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Speakers and discussants: Jane Wills (University of Exeter), Nick Clarke (University of Southampton), Tim Bale (QMUL), Javier Sajuria (QMUL)

E.E. Schattschneider famously claimed that modern democracy would be “unthinkable” without political parties and there is broad consensus that parties are crucial for creating and consolidating democracy. Yet studies have overwhelming taken the nation-state as their unit of analysis, examining parties’ functions and procedures in allowing the people to be represented and participate in national government. Although there has been a growing interest in sub-national and supra-national party systems, the urban remains a marginal concept in party scholarship. This is out of sync with growing evidence that the city has become central to practices of democracy, from urban citizenship to urban social movements. In this context this one-day conference asks: how are political parties creating practices and institutions of democracy in the city?

In order to explore this question, the conference is seeking contributions from scholars from a range of discipline in order to grapple with political parties’ democratic functions at the scale of the city.

Organised by: Sam Halvorsen (QMUL) in conjunction with the City Centre

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