Multi-level governance

Due to the deepening integration process within Europe, political parties and interest groups are confronted with the need to transform the excercise of their governance and to differentiate its forms and levels. The significance of analysing functional relations among individual levels of governance increases with the rising political significance of the European Union and its institutions' expansion in the European area. Because of these processes, dynamic changes of political parties and interest groups occur - characterised by modifications of their organization, of relations between them and their electors (citizens), as well as alteration of their communication and information strategies.

The Czech Republic, together with new members of the European Union, shows noticeable resemblance to Western European countries in this area. In connection with the structural and functional changes in progress, a great need for social science and, notably, political science research regarding Czech political parties, interest representation, and their role in the process of intermediation and representation of interest emerge. The investigations in this area in Czech circumstances show substantial deficits compared to Western European political research for the time being.

In association with the development of multi-level governance, likewise with regard to the broader problem of multiplication and differentiation of the environment where political parties operate, it is important to modify the classical theory of party systems and the concept of functions of political parties - now linked to the national context. We have to innovate the current conceptual apparatus of political parties and political science subdisciplines' theory, concentrating on the political parties and party systems research so to provide an effective description, analysis, and a satisfactory explanation of these processes (including their character, dynamics, and consequences). The empirical-analytic approach is primarily used in the evolvement of the research proposal - namely the diachronic and synchronic comparison, historical and statistical method, systems analysis, content analysis, policy analysis, the political parties and interest representation theory, the comparative political systems theory, the theory of democracy and the non-democratic regimes and the rational choice theory.