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Chapter 9: Degree of Organization (pp. 98-107), this is p. 101
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Basic Variable 8.02: Intensiveness of Organization

"Intensiveness of organization" derives from Duverger's emphasis on the "basic element"--or smallest organizational unit--in party structure as a variable having considerable consequences for party behavior. The party's strategy and selection of tactics, for example, are related to its structural basis. As Duverger points out, "the choice of the cell as the basis of organization entails a profound change in the very concept of a political party. Instead of a body intended for the winning of votes, ... the political party becomes an instrument of agitation" (1963, p. 35). The basis of party organization is also hypothesized to be related to party membership, discipline, and solidarity.

Most parties are organized on spatial rather than on functional lines, and a spatial or geographic scheme seems most generally suited for determining the most "intensive" level of party organization. We recognize that parties may not be organized as intensively in some areas of a country as in others, where their strength may be weaker. But, in this variable, we ignore variations in intensiveness of organization and seek instead to score parties according to the most intensive level of organization that the party has been able to achieve and maintain. Another variable, 8.03, assesses variations in intensiveness of organization.

The least intensive basis of party organization corresponds to what Duverger calls the "caucus"-- assemblages of limited numbers of semi-coopted party notables drawn from relatively large geographic areas. We distinguish between national and regional caucuses. The next three categories constitute progressively diminishing areal bases of organization: the constituency, branch or ward, and precinct. Finally, the most intensive basis of party organization--in the sense that it involves the fewest number of party members--is a "cell" or "militia unit." Comprising small numbers of dedicated partisans, cells may be organized on either a geographical or, what is more likely, an occupational basis. This departure from the spatial classification scheme be handled within our conceptualization for it occurs only at the most intensive end of our continuum.

Operational Definition. A party is scored according to the smallest unit of organization it has been able to achieve and maintain.


Organization is so vague, diffuse, or changeable that no institutionalized organs can be identified.


National caucus. There are no institutionalized party organs below the national level.


Regional caucus. There are no institutionalized party organs below the regional level, with region being interpreted to mean component states in a federal system or other major administrative subdivisions or prominent geographical divisions of the country


Constituency/municipal/ commune/county basis. There are no institutionalized party organs below the constituency level. In the absence of a clear empirical referent for these labels, this category is construed to define units smaller than regional and containing 50,000 or more voters


Branch or ward basis. These are usually electoral subdivisions of the above category. In the absence of a clear empirical referent to these labels, this category is construed to define units that correspond to areas containing between 1,000 and 50,000 voters.


Precinct basis. This is usually a subdivision of the above category, and it involves 1,000 voters or less; small villages re included in this category


Cell basis. Usually not defined on the basis of voters that the territory embraces; usually involves less than 100 party members; this category is used for militia units as well.

Coding Results. "Intensiveness of organization" proved to be somewhat more difficult to code than "structural articulation," with about 20 percent of the parties lacking a code for BV802. In line with the rationale concerning data quality and coding judgments for the preceding variable, there was again a significant positive correlation of .44 between the BV and AC scores. The relevant statistics are detailed in Tables 9.2a and 9.2b, which also show that a plurality of parties (nearly 40 percent) is organized on a branch or ward basis. Approximately 20 percent more feature the most intensive type of organization, commonly described as a "cell" even if the party itself refrains from this designation. Intermediate between these two points on the continuum is the "precinct" organization, which accounts for another quarter of the world's parties. Readers are reminded that the term "precinct" is used here in a broad sense, including village-level organizations as well as urban subunits.

Basic Variable 8.03: Extensiveness of Organization

The degree of party organization includes the geographical coverage or extensiveness of organization as well as the intensiveness of organization; which is measured by the preceding variable, 8.02. A party that establishes and maintains local organizations throughout the country is considered more highly organized than one whose local organizations are concentrated in part

*Gilbert Rotkin assisted in writing this section.

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