Keywords: political parties, ideology, delegates, socio-demographic changes, party national congress.
This paper compares socio-demographic and ideological variables of Italian party middle-level élites at national congresses, drawing on data from survey data collected in 1979 and surveys conducted between 2004 and 2009. In these three decades the Italian political system has
undergone deep transformations, which caused the collapse of the socalled «First Republic» and the formation of new political parties. The paper explores the impact of such changes on the socio-demographic characteristics of party delegates and their political culture. It also looks at the compatibility of empirical findings regarding internal participation with recent theories of party organizational dynamics.