POLIS - About our research


POLIS is a research unit initiated by a group of political scientists from the Department of Political Scienceat Aarhus University. It focuses on the role of political parties and party competition in contemporary Western democracies.

The incentive for this research unit is the observation that while political communication and the media have become a central aspect of democratic politics in all Western countries, the role of political parties and party competition has received much too little attention.

In recent years, political parties have undergone a transformation from member organisations into professional campaign organisations with a largely vote-seeking connection to the electorate. Previous research has tended to see this transformation as implying less influence for political parties and has concluded that there was a democratic problem.

A key idea of POLIS, by contrast, is that the growing importance of political communication and the media has not reduced the importance of party politics but that the role of party politics is poorly understood. In order to help remedy this deficiency, POLIS intends to investigate and elucidate the role and significance of Western political parties and party competition today.

Research components and research projects

POLIS has three principal topics or research components, which will be explored in six research projects, as shown below:

RESEARCH COMPONENTS:

RESEARCH PROJECTS:


COMPONENT 1

How do political parties compete on both issues and positions?


PROJECT 1

How do political parties compete on both issues and positions?


PROJECT 2
Intraparty dynamics, party policy positions and electoral competition in parliamentary democracies


COMPONENT 2

How does party competition shape
news coverage of politics?

PROJECT 3

How does party competition shape news coverage of politics?



COMPONENT 3

How do party competition and voters'
consequent perceptions of political parties
shape the electorate's response to political communication?



PROJECT 4

Theoretical understanding of issue ownership


PROJECT 5

Political party competition and public opinion dynamics


PROJECT 6

Political parties, interest organisations and citizen attitudes