New members as party modernisers: The case of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland

Gomez Martinez, R ORCID: 0000-0002-6810-0628 and Tonge, J ORCID: 0000-0002-4350-9101
(2016) New members as party modernisers: The case of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. Electoral Studies, 42. 65 - 74.

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Amid the literature on members of political parties, surprisingly little has been written on the potential or actual impacts that can be made upon party strategy or policies of a rapid influx of new members. New members may have different outlooks and desires than long-standing members. Although already sympathetic to the party they are joining, new arrivals, if arriving in large numbers, may hold sufficiently revisionist views to be able to re-orientate a political party in a direction not previously taken. Using data from the first-ever membership survey of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland, the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2003 and the fourth largest UK parliamentary party since 2005, this article analyses whether more recent joiners of the Party have brought greater pragmatism and moderation to an organisation previously dominated by hardline political, religious and ethnic attitudes. Modernisation from outsiders who become insiders can be a key aspect of party development. The DUP offers one of the stiffest tests of modernisation, given its history of opposition to moderation. This article shows that newer members have tempered beliefs in one of the most robustly ethno-religious parties in Europe.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parties, Members, Political change, Religion, Democratic Unionist Party
Subjects: ?? JA ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2016 11:00
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2021 23:11
DOI: 10.1016/j.electstud.2016.02.008
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