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Political Parties and their Representatives in Parliament



In most European parliamentary democracies individual parliamentarians are constitutional ordained as the main representative actors. Yet the political parties that parliamentarians belong to are also considered to be actors—in fact the key actors—in modern day representative democracy. Both in theory and in practice the role of the political party stands on tense grounds with the personal mandate of the individual parliamentarian.

The course starts by reviewing the normative and empirical literature on political representation and the roles ascribed to the individual parliamentarian and the political party in parliament. It will then move to the comparative literature that focuses on how electoral, parliamentary, and party level institutions affect the relationship between individual parliamentarians and their political parties in parliament. Issues that will be dealt with are collective versus individual representation and accountability, party unity and its determinants, and parliamentary individualism.

Methods of Instruction

Seminar meetings.

Study Material

1000-1200 pp; titles TBA.


Weekly assignments, final paper, presentation, participation.


Monday 6 February till 26 March, 11.00-13.00 hrs. in SA23 (except 20 Feb and 5 March 1A11) and
Thursday 9 February till 29 March, 11.00-13.00 hrs , in SA37