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Chapter

This chapter addresses the various concepts of political representation, such as substantive, descriptive, and symbolic. It then examines which institutions foster different types of representation. It presents two different visions of democracy: proportional and majoritarian. It considers what they imply for congruence and responsiveness. The chapter delves deeper into descriptive representation by looking at the representation of women across legislatures. When considering symbolic representation it looks at action taken by members of parliament. The chapter asks the basic question: to what extent, and in what ways, does a political system represent its citizens?

Chapter

Peter Dorey and Matthew Purvis

This chapter examines the issue of representation in the House of Lords. The existence of the unelected House of Lords has long been the subject of criticism, particularly from the Left. This is because the House of Lords today remains an almost wholly nominated, unelected, parliamentary institution, with most peers formally appointed by the Queen. However, some peers are also appointed by a House of Lords Appointments Commission, primarily those of a non-political nature. Such appointments have sparked accusations that the House of Lords is not representative, which runs counter to Britain's status as a parliamentary democracy. The chapter considers four discrete modes of representation and representativeness vis-à-vis the House of Lords: political representativeness, social representativeness, individual representation, and sectional representation.

Chapter

Rosie Campbell, Sarah Childs, and Elizabeth Hunt

This chapter examines the progress of women's participation and representation in the House of Commons. It first considers women's descriptive representation in the House of Commons over the last century, with emphasis on the differences in the proportion of women Members of Parliament (MPs) elected by the main political parties. It explains improvements in the numbers of women MPs in the last decade or so, together with the party asymmetry, by reference to the supply and demand model of political recruitment. It then reviews arguments for women's equal participation in politics, taking into account how women's descriptive representation intersects with symbolic and substantive representation. It also discusses resistance to the claim that women's representation matters and concludes with an analysis of the masculinized nature of the political institution that women MPs inhabit, along with the recommendations made in the 2016 The Good Parliament report.

Chapter

Pamela Paxton and Kristopher Velasco

This chapter examines the role of gender in democracy and democratization. It first considers how gender figures in definitions of democracy, noting that while women may appear to be included in definitions of democracy, they are often not included in practice. It then explores women’s democratic representation, making a distinction between formal, descriptive, and substantive representation. Women’s formal political representation is highlighted by focusing on the fight for women’s suffrage, whereas women’s descriptive representation is illustrated with detailed information on women’s political participation around the world. Finally, the chapter discusses the role of women in recent democratization movements around the world.

Chapter

Vicky Randall

This chapter explores the relationship between women/gender and political processes in the developing world. It begins with a discussion of the social context and ‘construction’ of gender, as well as the ways in which the state and politics have shaped women’s experience. It then considers the women’s movement, with case studies based in Brazil, Pakistan, and South Korea, along with women’s political representation and participation. It also examines the development and impact of feminism and women’s movements before concluding with an analysis of factors affecting policy related to women, focusing on issues such as abortion and girls’ access to education.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the history of democratization since the late eighteenth century. It introduces the concepts of ‘waves’ (trends) and ‘conjunctures’ (briefer turmoils) and delineates the major developments in this respect. In this way, the major long-term and short-term factors leading to the emergence and breakdowns of democracies are also highlighted. The first long wave occurred during the period 1776–1914, followed by the first positive conjuncture in 1918–19, the second long wave (with some intermittent turbulences) in 1945–88, and the latest conjuncture in 1989–90. The chapter identifies the main ingredients to democratization throughout history, namely: republicanism, representation, and political equality. It concludes by considering some of the current perspectives and dangers for the future of democracy.

Chapter

This chapter deals with political parties, focusing on why they emerged, how they can be classified, what functions they perform, and how they interact. It identifies two phases in the development of political parties. The first parties were intended to structure the work of legislatures, and later evolved into mass parties to structure the votes of electors, catch-all parties to win more votes irrespective of ideological appeal, and cartel parties more dominated by party professionals. The chapter also considers seven functions typically carried out by a political party, irrespective of whether they operate in democracies or authoritarian regimes: legitimation of the political system, integration and mobilization of citizens, representation, structuring the popular vote, aggregation of diverse interests, recruitment of leaders for public office, and formulation of public policy. Finally, it discusses various types of party outside the West, party systems, and some of the challenges facing political parties today.

Chapter

David Judge, Cristina Leston-Bandeira, and Louise Thompson

This concluding chapter reflects on the future of parliamentary politics by identifying key puzzles implicit in previous discussions which raise fundamental questions about what Parliament is and why it exists. The goal is to determine the ‘predictable unknowns’ as starting points for exploring the future. Three principal puzzles that need ‘hard thinking’ in order to understand legislatures are considered: representation, collective decision-making, and their role in the political system. The chapter also examines the difficulties in reconciling ideas about popular sovereignty and direct public participation with notions of parliamentary sovereignty and indirect public participation in decision-making; the implications of the legislative task of disentangling UK law from EU law in the wake of Brexit for Parliament's recent strengthened scrutiny capacity; and how Parliament has integrated the core principles of representation, consent, and authorization into the legitimation of state policy-making processes and their outputs.

Chapter

This chapter examines the democratic credentials of the European Union by asking whether it matches some key features common to many modern democratic systems: representation (whether legislation is adopted by representative assemblies); separation of powers; the executive’s democratic accountability; respect for fundamental rights; and whether competing political parties offer voters genuine choice. The chapter also clarifies some key concepts and terms such as bicameralism, democratic deficit, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Furthermore, it considers an alternative to representative democracy: the organizing of referenda to settle issues. Finally, it discusses the EU’s provisions for helping national parliaments scrutinize the participation of their government in EU institutions.