>Bar to advancement

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I’m sitting in a hotel bar with colleagues, nervously watching the time so I don’t miss my train and talking about party patronage and academic specialization. Like so many studies of parties, the one we’re discussing tends to tell us less about the effects of parties and more about the problem of the very notion of the political party, in both advanced and transitional democracies much less the bounded formal organization of the political science classics than fluid elite network overlapping with other networks. We lament the fact that intellectually curious political scientists are, as often as not, punished in career terms for asking new questions and shifting to new areas: to gain reputation and stature, we agree, you need to keep mining the same seam even when it’s pretty much exhausted.

I am myself pretty much exhausted when I get to St Pancras and I narrowly miss my train.

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