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The Ethics of Political Alliance

  • Jonathan White
Abstract

Usually pictured in relations of opposition, political parties are sometimes inclined to make alliances. This article examines the ethical questions such arrangements give rise to. It considers first the formal characteristics of an alliance as a distinctive form of association, moving on to examine what reasons for alliance are good reasons. Intrinsic arguments that invoke epistemic or democratic criteria, and instrumental arguments that cite areas of shared programme or imperfect institutions, are weighed in turn, with the latter judged to be more consistent with the partisan ethos. The final section examines the normative standards to which alliances should be held once formed.

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Footnotes
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London School of Economics (email: j.p.white@lse.ac.uk). This essay was first presented as a keynote lecture at the University of Leuven during a workshop on ‘The Responsible Party Model in Times of De-alignment’ (19–20 December 2016). For detailed comments on a draft I am especially grateful to Ann-Kristin Kölln, Fabio Wolkenstein and Lea Ypi.

Footnotes
References
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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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