Research Unit

Ghent Association for the Study of Parties and Representation

01 September 2014 → Ongoing
Group leader
Other information
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Voting behaviour
    • Democratic innovations
    • Party politics
    • Political representation, executive and legislative politics
"Political parties are key players in politics. Research of GASPAR isfocused on both party ideology and party organization. Regarding theformer, we focus on content and effects of party ideologies, as well ason changes in ideologies. Regarding the latter, we study organisationalchange (including professionalisation, europeanisation anddemocratisation) and the roles and attitudes of party members. In bothresearch areas, parties are studied both in themselves and within thebroader institutional framework in which they operate (with a particularfocus on multilevel governance).Political representation refers to acting in the name of people who areliterally not present. Firstly, we look at representation bypoliticians. Taking into account the role ofparties in the recruitmentand selection of political personnel, we analyse how electoral processesand voting behavior influence the composition of parliaments. Secondly,we are interested in representation by political parties. More inparticular, the entry and exit of parties and the saturation of partysystems are studied. Thirdly, also parliamentary behavior is a core research theme: both explanations and consequences of this behaviour are investigated. Finally, GASPAR has a long tradition ofresearch on trade unions, and focusses now on the influence of old andnew interest groups on parties. All representation processes are studiedboth as such and with a special focus on underrepresented social groups(women, ethnic minorities, working class, etc.)."