Counting the Many (Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy)

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Spanish Language version:. Approaches to Class Analysis final manuscript draft: January Diagnosis and Critique. Monthly Review , October and November, XV, No. November , Volume 32, issue 4, pp. The present locus of enquiry is propitious because, over the past years, Welsh politics has been characterised by OPD. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, Wales experienced one-party domination under the Liberal Party Morgan, Following a brief interregnum, since the Labour Party has been the preeminent political force Hopkin, Tanner and Williams ; McAllister, Having secured Notably, in electoral terms, the other main UK state-wide party, the right-of-centre Conservative Party, has fared worse in Wales than in England at every general election since the s.

In , it won 28 of the 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales polling This record has ensured that Labour has continuously held government office since the National Assembly for Wales was created in The following discussion is based upon qualitative semistructured interview data gathered from a series of studies spanning the period — Cassell and Symon, : 2. The adopted methods provided a singular longitudinal perspective of the entire period of meso-governance since constitutional reform in the UK in — The sample comprised seven CSOs concerned with gender equality, six ethnicity, eight disability, six age, two sexual orientation, three faith and five generic equalities.

In turn, the number of interviewees for each characteristic broadly reflects the number of representative CSOs for each group as listed in the official third sector register of CSOs Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Semistructured interviews were particularly suited to the present task because they permitted the use of probes and secondary, supplementary questions King and Horrocks, This boosted reliability of the data by enabling the exploration and clarification of the issues and experiences described by participants.

The theoretical framework underpinning the schedule was participative democratic mainstreaming — as well as the literature on deliberative democracy cf. Elster, ; Gutman and Thompson, Topics covered included action repertoires, mobilising structures, networking, communication, information, awareness, resource issues, access, influence, knowledge, skills and human capital. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using appropriate software. Care was taken to minimise interviewer bias through use of a general interview schedule.

Moreover, care was taken to uphold objectivity when asking supplementary or follow-up questions. In terms of case study selection, Wales was chosen because it provides a rare and striking example where governing party turnover is absent. It is a liberal democratic system that has experienced single-party dominance throughout the entire postwar period. This is because the typical or average case is often not the richest in information. Seawright and Gerring concur with this assessment:.

Attention now turns to the research findings. Each is discussed in turn. This first section of the findings reveals how OPD skews the political dynamic for participation in the work of government. As Payne cogently observes, mainstreaming has both coercive and voluntary elements. Each of these resonates with equality claims making under the PDM and each is mediated by turnover.

This is a concept highlighting individual agency and engagement between policy actors in civil society and parliamentarians see also Gamson, This shapes targeted lobbying of individual ministers and backbenchers in order to advance equalities claims. This is because, when participating in government policy making, CSOs are faced with the strategic choice of whom to engage amongst a given parliamentary cohort.

This is where OPD creates a singular political dynamic for participative mainstreaming. Notably, the present research data show how it reduces the value of alliance building with opposition party members. Thus, when asked about how OPD affected the targeting of parliamentarians, one respondent said. The associated pattern of CSO dis- engagement with opposition parliamentarians has worrying implications. Allied to the foregoing, in terms of strategic bridging, the present data also reveal that turnover not only shapes which parties CSOs engage — but also whom they engage in a given parliamentary cohort.

Specifically, governing party turnover affects participatory mainstreaming through the existence of veto players. These are parliamentarians who, by virtue of their office, may block exogenous claims making by CSOs on issues like equalities Tsebelis, Veto players may be unreceptive to mainstreaming claims for a variety of reasons including political ideology, laissez faire orientation, or discriminatory attitudes. Crucially, their influence is heighted under OPD as they are less likely to be replaced by a change of government following an election.

Instead, they have enduring influence and may effectively block CSO claims over successive election cycles. Overall, the present findings align with the wider international experience of lobbying e. It is worth reflecting on the practical implications of this finding.

It suggests that CSOs need to adapt their strategic bridging so that their targeted lobbying of individual ministers and backbenchers is aligned with governing party turnover — and where appropriate, compensates for OPD by deliberate engagement with weaker opposition parties. Failure to do this will reduce the value of alliance building with opposition party members, increase the power of veto players in dominant parties — and further the party politicisation of claims making. In turn, this will lead to a downward spiral, thereby increasing likelihood of OPD over time and bringing with it associated negative consequences for the PDM.

This aspect of the findings provides further insight into how turnover skews the political dynamic for participation. As the following reveals, interviewees variously allude to OPD as a pathology limiting their policy input and as a catalyst for new repertoires to place policy demands on those in power. Thus, under the PDM of mainstreaming once CSOs decide to advance equality claims on those in power, they must choose the method or means by which to advance their policy demands.

The full gamut of claims-making methods open to CSOs is diverse. At one end of the spectrum lies protest and civil disobedience, whilst more bureaucratised means such as policy lobbying and consultation work are at the other. A change of governing party is often the catalyst for new repertoires to be employed — or for existing ones to be revised. The present findings suggest that governing party turnover determines the degree to which party institutionalisation sets in. Accordingly, one policy officer. In contrast, others underlined how the diminished political opportunity structures under OPD had a galvanising effect on engagement based on the necessity for a broad repertoire of protest and mobilisation.

Another opined,. Most likely both! These findings resonate with the wider participation literature e. In terms of the practical implications for CSOs, the current findings show that even when denied the catalysing effect of regular government turnover, CSOs need to be proactive, vary their action repertoires and employ the full gamut of claims-making methods.

This is to ward against party institutionalisation, maximise criticality and advance claims making on government in order to challenge existing power relations in policy making. Rather than a free exchange of ideas, interviewees spoke of deliberately framing claims in ways that aligned with dominant party thinking. However, respondents alluded to the specific challenges posed by OPD. For example, it has featured the tropes of mutuality, equality of outcome and redistribution Chaney and Drakeford, Accordingly, one interviewee alluded to how they had deliberately linked equality of opportunity claims with government aspirations for tackling income inequalities.

She recalled how they had pressed a minister and his team on gender budgeting with limited success.

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Subsequently, she alluded to how:. As noted, in the present case study, the dominant Labour Party has long espoused a socialist ideology and a generally rejected mixed economy approaches to welfare involving the private sector. The present findings also reveal the party politicisation of engagement. Thus, interviewees underlined how they were obliged to negotiate the challenging and singular positional politics that characterise a one-party dominant system.

It is a viewpoint captured by the following interviewee:. My personal view is the fact that it is a one party state actually does create quite a sterile environment in terms of policy-making.


It very much feels that at times to challenge a policy is very much to challenge the [Labour] Party, and to challenge the hegemony of the Welsh Labour Government. Taken together, they are the means for interorganisational coordination and collaboration between CSOs. Banazak, This is evident in the present study.

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The current study also reveals the impact of single-party dominance and neo-corporatism. In the current research context, neo-corporatism takes the form of state-sponsored policy networks. Whilst undoubtedly facilitating engagement, its use can also be emblematic of the coercive aspect of mainstreaming cf. Payne, : Thus, as De Jager 56 explains:. This is because its specialist nature meant its provenance would be clear and in turn likely to be viewed as an overt attack on government, their chief sponsor. Another reflected on the overall impact of OPD and neo-corporatist practices:.

Whilst extant work often points to political parties and civil society as largely discrete entities cf. Chatterjee, : ; Kopecky and Mudde, , single-party dominance highlights blurred boundaries cf. Mair, and how this may impact on participative mainstreaming. Under OPD holding power over successive election cycles effectively institutionalises the dominant party. A further, related issue is that mainstreaming may be undermined by the negative aspects opaqueness, lack of accountability and exclusive nature of informal networks that crosscut formal political channels and processes Masket, This corresponds with existing work by McClurg and Lazer 4 who explicate how.

Thus, interviewees described how critical engagement with government routinely took place outside legislative channels. Our existing contacts and connections are very important. I found where we have had some successes is in raising concerns with Labour backbenchers who have gone on to raise the concerns themselves with ministers. So we tend to shape the policy practices indirectly through the Labour Party machine itself, shaping policy internally.

Siim, Thus, for example, one CSO chief executive said. In summary, the practical significance of these findings for CSOs is that in placing their equalities claims on government they need to utilise mobilizing structures to develop advocacy coalitions that act to counter the disproportionate power and influence of dominant parties.

Such alliances offer a way to address the compromised independence that can result from dominant party patronage and neo-corporatist structures. In other words, by creating alliances that are broader than state-sponsored CSOs, full criticality may be restored. The analysis identifies four areas affected by the absence of turnover: strategic bridging, action repertoires, framing and cognitive locks, and CSO networking and alliance building. Moreover, attention to strategic bridging reveals how single-party dominance influences whom to engage amongst the political elite.

Thus, far from being an apolitical, bureaucratic, instrumental undertaking, the operationalisation of mainstreaming principles around participation and democracy is shown to be shaped by electoral politics. As the principal policy actor bound by international and domestic mainstreaming obligations, government is not a constant in the mainstreaming equation. Rather, its political complexion changes each time a governing party is voted out and replaced by a rival. Accordingly, the type of party holding office shapes a broad range of factors including: the power of the incumbent, the degree of openness or resistance to exogenous criticality and claims making, the extent of political patronage and the degree of CSO resource dependency and autonomy.

A key point emerging from the study is that the nondiscrete issues identified are self-sustaining. Over time, diminished civil society engagement with opposition parties will further strengthen the dominant party and thus perpetuate a downward spiral such that a change of governing party is even less likely. These should be broad based and cross-party in nature.

For example, they may include the modification of strategic bridging to compensate for OPD through deliberate engagement with weaker opposition parties. Moreover, they may use their mobilising structures to develop advocacy coalitions to counter the compromised independence that can result from dominant party patronage and neo-corporatist structures. Through such measures, full criticality in state—civil society relations may be restored.

The author would like thank three anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments when revising an earlier draft of this paper. For example, in Bavaria where, even with direct democracy mechanisms such as local referendums, limited turnover of the governing party is amongst factors that limit the agenda setting of CSOs see Premat, : Raffl, National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Public Policy and Administration. Public Policy Adm. Published online May 4. Paul Chaney.

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Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Email: ku. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3. Keywords: Civil society, equalities, government, mainstreaming, participation, politics, turnover. In like fashion, Butler notes that OPD: has been used to refer to the protracted electoral and ideological dominance of a one party in a representative democracy. Methodology The following discussion is based upon qualitative semistructured interview data gathered from a series of studies spanning the period — Open in a separate window.

Figure 1. Action repertoires This aspect of the findings provides further insight into how turnover skews the political dynamic for participation. It is a viewpoint captured by the following interviewee: My personal view is the fact that it is a one party state actually does create quite a sterile environment in terms of policy-making.

Acknowledgements The author would like thank three anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments when revising an earlier draft of this paper. Systems with free and fair elections. In: Bacchi C, Eveline J, editors. Banazak A. Barnett Donaghy T. Policy and Politics 32 1 : 49— Geoforum 43 : — Beveridge F, Nott S. Feminist Legal Studies 10 : — Beveridge F, Shaw J.

Birrell D. Blyth M. Boyatzis R. Butler A. Representation 45 2 : — Caglar G. Politics and Gender 9 3 : — Cassell C, Symon G. In: Cassell C, Symon G, editors. Chaney P, Drakeford M. Belfast, Northern Ireland Office, pp. Columbia University Press, New York. Dahl R. Debusscher P, Van der Vleuten A. International Development Planning Review 34 3 : — De Jager N.

Denzin N, Lincoln Y. Duverger M. Elster J. American Political Science Review 83 : — Flyvbjerg B.

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