Democratic Representation in Europe:Diversity, Change, and Convergence: Diversity, Change, and Convergence

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Maurizio Cotta, Heinrich Best
OUP Oxford, Nov 8, 2007 - Political Science - 552 pages
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Democratic Representation in Europe: Diversity, Change and convergence explores representation as a core element of democracies in the modern era. Over the past 150 years parliamentary representation has developed into a main link between polity and society, and parliamentary representatives have come to form the nucleus of political elites. The twenty authors of the 16 chapters follow a comparative and empirical approach by exploiting the unique longitudinal data-base ofthe EURELITE project, which has gathered standardized evidence about the structures of parliamentary representation in 11 European countries and their development over time; in many countries over 160 years. Following on from an earlier book by the same editors (Parliamentary Representatives in Europe1848-2000.) which focused on trends in single European countries, Democratic Representation in Europe pursues a trans-national approach by comparing the mechanisms and modes of parliamentary recruitment and career formation between the main party families and various categories of the population in European societies. Such cross-national analyses, which include a longitudinal account of female representation throughout modern European parliamentary history, have not been attemptedbefore. The book concludes with longitudinal in-depth analyses of cleavage representation in European parliamentary history and of the impact of the institutional factor on political elites' transformations.Democratic Representation in Europe contributes to a better understanding of relations between social and political change, and of the importance of institutional factors in shaping the political elites of European democracies. In so doing it can help substantiate theoretical debates in the social and political sciences on issues such as historical institutionalism and path dependency.

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About the author (2007)


Maurizio Cotta is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for the Study of Political Change at the University of Siena. He was Co-director of the Scientific Network, 'European Political Elites in Comparison: the long road to convergence' (EURELITE) funded by the European Science Foundation and is currently coordinator of the European 6th Framework programme Integrated Project INTUNE Integrated and United: A quest for Citizenship in an ever closer Europe. He has written extensively on parliaments, executives, and on Italian politics. He has co-edited Il gigante dai piedi di argilla. La crisi del regime partitocratico in Italia (1996), Party and Government (1996), The Nature of Party Government (2000), Parliamentary representatives in Europe 1848-2000 (2000), L'Europa in Italia (2005).

Heinrich Best is currently Professor of Sociology at the University of Jena. He is also Director of the multidisciplinary collaborative Research Centre, 'Societal Developments after the End of State Socialism: Discontinuity, Tradition and the Emergence of New Structures' funded by the German Science Foundation, and was Co-director of the Scientific Network, 'European Political Elites in Comparison: the long road to convergence' (EURELITE) funded by the European Science Foundation. Professor Best's publication list entails 27 books and 105 journal and book contributions as primary author and editor. His recent publications include Parliamentary Representatives in Europe 1848-2000 (OUP 2000); Elites in Transition: Elite Research in Central and Eastern Europe (1997); Functional Elites in the GDR: Theoretical Controversies and Empirical Evidence (2003).

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