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Essence and Relevance of “Small” Parties: Problems of Conceptualisation



Vitaliy S. Lytvyn – Anatoliy S. Romanyuk


Politické vedy, Volume 26, Number 2/2023, pages 75-113


Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:

LYTVYN, V. S. – ROMANYUK, A. S. 2023. Essence and Relevance of “Small” Parties: Problems of Conceptualisation. In Politické Vedy. Vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 75-113. ISSN 1335 – 2741. Available at:



The issues of “small” parties have been quite intensively and extensively studied in Political Science over the past few decades. However, researchers have not yet developed a consolidated position on what “small” parties are or are not. Hence, the objective of the present study was to assess and even question the essence, relevance and utility of distinguishing “small” parties. Given this, the article systematically overviewed, explored and synthesised the concept of “small” parties over the past half a century of Political Science development. It began with an examination of the historiography and research problems related to “small” parties, highlighting the various attempts to define them in different contexts. In this comprehensive analysis, the article distinguished several approaches (electoral, territorial, functional, ideological, organisational and strategic) for defining and understanding the essence of “small” parties. It also delved into the potential influence and relevance of “small” parties, including their functional, quantitative, dimensional, ideological and behavioural aspects, while acknowledging that “small” parties often appear to be irrelevant. Ultimately, the article questioned the categorical separation of “small” parties, recognising that the concept lacks a clear and unified definition in Political Science. Instead, it suggested that the analytical utility of this concept primarily serves electoral or comparative contexts. The study methodologically justified its approach through a systematic, critical and analytical review of the concept of “small” parties, drawing from other studies in the field. Consequently, the article contributed to a deeper understanding of the essence and relevance of “small” parties, as well as their limitations.

Key words: Party, “Small” Party, Relevance, Irrelevance, Party System

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Essence and Relevance of “Small” Parties: Problems of Conceptualisation Veľkosť: 585.7 kB Formát: pdf Dátum: 27.1.2024