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Fellow (1 September 2002 - 30 June 2003)
Jacques Thomassen and I worked on a book on the functioning of representative democracy in the Netherlands. The book is based on interviews held with members of parliament in 1968, 1972, 1979, 1990, and 2001. However, the main emphasis of the book is not on the Dutch parliament as such, but on theories of representative democracy. We had observed a strange and undesirable bifurcation in research on representative democracy. In the literature on legislative behaviour there seem to be two ways of seeing parliament in a democracy: one sees parliament as representing civil society, and one views parliament as overseeing the government.
It was our aim to develop a new conceptual framework that could integrate these two bodies of literature and to apply it to Dutch representative democracy. We succeeded in developing a conceptual framework that linked the three main modes of executive-legislative relations to the three main models of political representation. This framework resulted in three different models of representative democracy. In the book we are currently working on, we empirically test to what extent these three models apply to Dutch representative democracy and how this compares to other European democracies. We also look at whether this changes over time.
Several parts of the book were presented as papers at various of conferences. Two of these papers have been submitted to international journals. Two of the three empirical sections of the book and the first draft of the introductory chapter were written. A draft of the third empirical part is in statu nascendi. We have submitted an extensive book proposal to an international publisher.
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