Party Types in the Age of Personalized Politics
By Gideon Rahat, University of Jerusalem
Democracies in general and political parties in particular have undergone political personalization in recent decades. The power balance between politicians (one or many) and the team (the party as a collegial entity) has changed, and existing party typologies are no longer suited to the analysis of today’s democratic politics. Although some new personalized party types have been added, what is missing is a systematic attempt to contrast them with the collegial option. This article proposes a new classification of political parties to fill the lacuna. It includes five ideal types of parties: two personalized-decentralized types, referring to collections of separated autonomous activists or to separated autonomous individual politicians (plural); a collegial type, which is about the centrality of the team and is based mainly on collective authorities and collective decision making; and two personalized-centralized types, referring to the centrality of an individual politician in her capacity as the party leader or that of a specific individual who “owns” the party.