Democratic Representation in Europe: Diversity, Change, and Convergence
Maurizio Cotta, Heinrich Best
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 of the 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 Europe 1848-2000.) which focused on trends in single European countries, this book 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 attempted before. 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.