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Small fish swimming in the shape of a shark: why politicians join political parties in the Pacific islands

Small fish swimming in the shape of a shark: why politicians join political parties in the Pacific islands
Small fish swimming in the shape of a shark: why politicians join political parties in the Pacific islands
Political parties are ubiquitous features of contemporary models of representative democracy and are widely believed to be integral to transition, and yet persistently democratic Pacific Island countries tend to have ‘weakly’ institutionalised parties – some have none at all – that have little influence on the mobilisation of voters during elections. Party theory largely assumes that politicians form parties to win elections: the author asks why, given the commonly cited irrelevance of party politics in much of the Pacific, politicians join political parties at all. Drawing on 96 biographical accounts – including 72 in-depth interviews –he interprets the explanations politicians give for joining, leaving and changing parties. The author identifies three narratives. The first accords with an augmented rational actor model, the second with a responsible parties model and the third points to intrinsic motivations that are largely overlooked in the existing literature. The author concludes that a comprehensive account must include all three interpretations.
1466-2043
130-152
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2

Corbett, Jack (2015) Small fish swimming in the shape of a shark: why politicians join political parties in the Pacific islands. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 53 (2), 130-152. (doi:10.1080/14662043.2015.1013298).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Political parties are ubiquitous features of contemporary models of representative democracy and are widely believed to be integral to transition, and yet persistently democratic Pacific Island countries tend to have ‘weakly’ institutionalised parties – some have none at all – that have little influence on the mobilisation of voters during elections. Party theory largely assumes that politicians form parties to win elections: the author asks why, given the commonly cited irrelevance of party politics in much of the Pacific, politicians join political parties at all. Drawing on 96 biographical accounts – including 72 in-depth interviews –he interprets the explanations politicians give for joining, leaving and changing parties. The author identifies three narratives. The first accords with an augmented rational actor model, the second with a responsible parties model and the third points to intrinsic motivations that are largely overlooked in the existing literature. The author concludes that a comprehensive account must include all three interpretations.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 3 March 2015
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 388377
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/388377
ISSN: 1466-2043
PURE UUID: 1bcf206b-220c-46ea-b21a-52da82162d7f
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 24 Feb 2016 12:55
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:50

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