An interview on the role of members in political parties with Anna Pacześniak can be found in the last issue of ‘Przegląd’ (no 50/2017). Pacześniak presented in it preliminary conclusions from our research project. The beginning of the interview can be read on ‘Przegląd’ web page, the rest is to be found in printed version of the magazine.
The end of the year 2017 would be very busy for the research team. In December we are going to conduct six group interviews (FGI) with the rank-and-files of the researched parties in Wrocław and Toruń. Each focus needs diligent preparation and sound moderation. We are looking for information on day-to-day life of the party from the perspective of the grassroots. And this is not all for this year. We are also planning to conduct a survey with Civic Platform’s members.
Internal election in the Civic Platform to the counties and regional structures were held on the first weekend of December. We had to be there! Michał Jacuński not only observed the elections but also found opportunity to conduct an IDI with the party President Grzegorz Schetyna. According to the interviewee, internal elections are a major experience for parties, because they have the potential to change not only the vision of the party but also their image, and allow them to come across as more open and democratic organizations.
One of the researched topics in our project is party membership. And this was our main interest in the two papers that were presented during the seminar “Contemporary political parties in the era of trust crisis in politics” organized by the Committee on Political Parties and Party Systems of the Polish Political Science Association held in Zielona Góra Univeristy on November 16-17, 2017. Anna Pacześniak presented a paper “Members of Polish political parties in the eyes of the parties’ elites”, based mainly on conducted in-depth interviews with parties’ leaders and parliamentarians. Maria Wincławska delivered a paper “Why do people join political parties and what do they do in them?” Her analysis was built on the survey conducted in four of our researched parties: Modern, Polish People’s Party, Democratic Left Alliance and Together.
„Discussions on Democracy” was a main topic of the conference in Wisła (October 26-27, 2017). Members of our research team Anna Pacześniak and Maria Wincławska presented a paper “Do political parties still need members? Conclusions from empirical studies into the Polish political parties”. They discussed the results of qualitative research conducted among leaders, MPs and EMPs of six parties (Law and Justice, Civic Platform, Modern, Polish People’s Party, Democratic Left Alliance, Together), and quantitative research conducted among the rank-and-file members of four of the groupings: Polish People’s Party, Democratic Left Alliance, Together (the Civic Platform and Law and Justice questionnaires are still in progress). Our discussant Małgorzata Myśliwiec, from the University of Silesia offered us her thoughtful comments on our paper, for which we would like to thank her a lot.