Re-structuring parliamentary roles

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Prominent extant definitions of, and approaches to, parliamentary roles conflate roles and behaviour and, consequently, contain a latent behaviouralism that enfeebles the role that institutions and other structural features play in outcomes. To overcome such issues, this article makes the case for a historical institutionalist approach to the study of parliamentary roles, premised on a critical realist ontology and the figure of homo sentiens. Such an approach defines parliamentary roles in terms of sets of expectations impinging on incumbents of the social position of Member of Parliament and has a number of consequences for how we study parliamentary roles. Namely: the focus of research is squarely on legislative roles; attention is shifted away from focusing (so much or solely) on what mp s think; patterns of behaviour become the starting point for identifying parliamentary roles; and normative questions concerning the ‘goodness’ of parliamentary roles and attendant parliamentary institutional architecture gain prominence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22–46
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Parliamentary Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


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