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Personal and Party Representation in Contemporary Europe: Effects on Intra-party Dynamics

Personal and Party Representation in Contemporary Europe: Effects on Intra-party Dynamics

european_parliament_strasbourg_hemicycle_-_diliff.jpg

The Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg during a plenary session in 2014.
Photo credit: 
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Abstract:

This study explores the relationship between elected representatives and the parties they belong to in the European context. It uses an elite cross-national survey, exploring the way elected representatives perceive their representative role and construct their perceptions of representation with regards to party unity. In order to bypass the "no-variance" problem in recorded votes, the study makes use of a legislator's sequential decision-making model, according to which party unity is not considered an end-result, but rather a process. Using attitudinal data on legislators’ perceptions and attitudes, the study shows that representatives often feel a tension between different, competing foci of representation – mainly party representation versus all other foci. It then examines how elected representatives reconcile this tension; how they are assisted by internalized perceptions of their role; and the effect of various institutional factors in this process.   

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