Denters, B. and Klok, P-J. (2013) ‘Citizen Democracy and the Responsiveness of Councillors: The Effects of Democratic Institutionalisation on the Role Orientations and Role Behaviour of Councillors’ in Local Government Studies Vol 39 No.5 pp661-680
What attracted me to this Article / Chapter?
I’ve been trying to find some foundational texts or review articles about elected representatives and role orientation. I’ve had some great recommendations but unfortunately one of the key texts isn’t available at my uni library or any others I can assess 😦
So I went back to my files and found this one that appears to focus not simply on role orientations but how different institutional arrangements, in particular around the role of citizens vs. parties, impacts on role orientations. This is likely to be of relevance to the work I’m doing on the roles of elected reps in democratic innovations and my research on the impact of democratic innovations on the perspectives of elected representatives.
What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)
Research question: whether and how cross-national variations in the institutions of local democracy affect the responsiveness (in both their role orientations and their role behaviour) of councillors.
The authors investigated the impact of two different approaches to institutionalising democratic systems at the local level:
- citizen oriented institutions
- party oriented institutions.
Using Pitkin’s notion of responsiveness they hypothesise that in a citizen focused democracy elected reps would make it a priority to keep “abreast of the opinions and needs of citizens” p665 And that ‘variations in institutional contexts will go hand in hand with differences in the value orientations and behaviours of actors in the affected political arenas.’ pp665 – 666. They identify nine hypothesises all up. Read the rest of this entry »