Partisanship (Yet Another Inadequate Placeholder)

30 Jan 2019 08:05

That is, organizing politics around contending political parties, especially ones with broad membership and emotional involvement. (I am thus less interested in mere factions among the aristocracy / oligarchy / hierarchy, which are universal, and one-party states, which lack the element of contention. [Though it is an interesting question why one-party states feel the need to have a party.])

Ancient examples: The Blues and Greens in the circus at Rome and Constantinople. Medieval: Guelfs and Ghibellines in Italy; Hooks and Cods in Holland. Whigs vs. Tories in Britain after 1688? Emergence of modern parties.

It seems pretty clear that in many times and places, party membership tracks other social classifications pretty well --- but which ones, when? When does it cut across other social categories? When does it come to be felt as a primary social category in its own right, rather than as a derivative one?

--- It would be idle to pretend that this interest doesn't largely come from trying to understand what the hell's going on in my own country these days.

See also: Democracy; Networks of Political Actors; Political Elites