Re-structuring parliamentary roles

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Colleges, School and Institutes


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 MPs 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.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 29/03/2021


Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Parliamentary Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Feb 2021