Between adaptation and breakdown: Conceptualizing party survival

Jennifer Cyr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


What happens to political parties after they experience a sudden and dramatic decline in their national vote share? The literature identifies two outcomes. Parties successfully adapt to change, or they fail and breakdown. I provide nuance to this dichotomy by conceptualizing party survival as a stage that lies between adaptation and breakdown. I argue that a party survives national-electoral crisis when it continues to fulfill at least one of its primary functions. It may survive as: a localized subnational electoral entity, a nationalized subnational entity, or as part of the public debate. I identify examples of each survival type in a region where electoral crises have been particularly acute: the Andean region of Latin America. These cases demonstrate that party survival matters for politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-145
Number of pages21
JournalComparative politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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