Beyond Westminster and Congress: The Nordic Experience

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Peter Esaiasson, Knut Heidar
Ohio State University Press, 2000 - Political Science - 506 pages
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In Beyond Westminster and Congress, thirteen scholars characterize parliamentary life and procedures in five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Although there are important institutional similarities among the five systems -- all have unicameral parliaments that share common roots in the political history of the region -- there are theoretically interesting differences among the five systems as well. These similarities and differences make the Nordic countries particularly interesting subjects for analysis.

The book had its genesis at the Nordic Political Science Association Conference in Oslo in 1993, where several of the contributors met to discuss the possibility of coordinating parliamentary surveys already underway in some of the Nordic countries. The five-nation project Nordic Legislature and Legislators was started shortly thereafter, and members of the research group met on several occasions over the next few years to organize their research. The collaborative nature of this project makes it a particularly valuable contribution to our understanding of how parliaments work.

The book begins by setting the Scandinavian parliaments in their historical and national settings. Part I analyzes political representation in the Nordic countries, focusing on the links between representatives and the represented. Part 2 analyzes parliamentary organization, the different roles of committees, parties, and leadership. In part 3, the analysis turns to parliamentary decision making, including the influence of interest groups and the executive. Finally, the authors consider relations between the national parliaments and the larger European setting, includingrepresentation in the European Parliament.

 

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Contents

Five Most Similar Systems?
17
How Members of Parliament Define Their Task
51
Does Social Background Matter?
83
Geography and Political Representation
107
Representing Women
132
Issue Agreement
155
Parliamentary Party Groups
183
Nordic Light on Committee Assignments
237
Views of Power in Society
281
International Networking
313
Parliaments Adaptation to the European Union
344
What Kind of Future and Why?
365
Learning from the Nordic Experience
409
The Surveys
441
References
457
Contributors
482

Parliament and Government
265

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About the author (2000)

Esaiasson is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Goteborg University, Sweden.

Heidar is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway.

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