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Political Representation and Parliamentary Politics



In modern-day representative democracies, parliaments are a highly visible arena in which citizens are represented. The representative link between citizens and politicians is a common theme in political science research. This course deals with the way in which parliamentarians fulfil their representative roles. It specifically focuses on the intersection of legislative studies and studies of political representation. The course discusses classic and recent literature on issue congruence and dynamic representation, parliamentary roles and legislative studies. Central questions include the extent to which politicians and political parties fulfil their representative roles (particularly in parliament), how parliamentary activities like voting, asking questions and introducing proposals can be linked to theories of political representation, and what the consequences of high or low levels of political representation are for trust in the political system. Whereas most studies discussed in this course focus on Western democracies, we will also consider to what extent these theories and findings apply to other countries and sub/supra-national levels of government.

Course objectives

Objective 1. Students gain insight in theories and research into the field of legislative studies and political representation.
Objective 2. Students can critically reflect upon the question whether, in what ways and under which conditions parliaments fulfil their representative roles.

Mode of instruction

Short lectures, discussion, student presentations, peer review

Study material

A selection of journal articles and book chapters, announced on Brightspace

Assessment methods

Class participation (including a presentation) and paper assignments. Details of the assessment will be announced on Brightspace before the start of the class.
Participation in the peer review activities is considered part of the practical part of the course and a condition for entry to the examination of the course.


See preliminary info

This course is earmarked for the specialisations Parties, Parliaments and Democracy and Dutch Politics/Nederlandse Politiek.