Can Intra-party Democracy Save Party Activism? Evidence from Korea

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Abstract

This article focuses on Korean parties to address the following gaps in the literature on party member activism: First, little attention has been paid to party members in non-Western democracies. Second, it is unclear how intra-party democracy is related to member activism. Unlike most industrialized democracies, South Korea has recently seen a notable growth in party membership. However, dues-paying remains the exception rather than the rule in the major parties, while the opposite is true for the minor, leftist parties. Using data from party member surveys, I examine the determinants of member activism across the three Korean parties, focusing on the effect of members’ evaluations of the internal democracy of their party. I argue that dues-paying has risen as a new form of activism as democracy has been consolidated and present evidence for a paradox of intra-party democracy that members positively evaluating internal democracy of their party remain less active.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26(1)
Pages (from-to)32-42
JournalParty Politics
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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Keywords

  • Party membership
  • intra-party democracy
  • dues-paying
  • party activism
  • South Korea

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