1st Edition

Parliamentary Representation in France

Edited By Olivier Costa Copyright 2014
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Despite real improvements since the beginning of the last decade, legislative studies are still underdeveloped in France, compared to other modern democracies. This weakness is linked to the characteristics of the political system itself: the Constitution of 1958 has created a semi-presidential regime, the centrality of which has been constantly reinforced since. The French parliament is thus supposed to be extremely feeble. This lack of interest for legislative studies is also to be found in the specificities of French political sociology, which pays little attention to institutions.

    As a result, very few papers and books deal with French chambers and MPs. Yet, they are fascinating cases of study for scholars interested in parliamentary representation, professionalization of political life, and French politics. The French parliament and MPs are deeply paradoxical: MPs are very attached to the concept of national sovereignty but remain involved at local level and in surgery work; the French National Assembly is supposed to be weak, but is quite active and influential; citizens are more aware of the role of MPs than it seems, and their views and values are closer than predicted.

    This book gathers seven papers from the LEGIPAR research project (2008-2012). The project was designed by the contributors to rejuvenate French legislative studies by collecting systematic data on MPs’ socio-biographical profiles and activities, conducting face-to-face interviews, gathering exhaustive data on National Assembly activity and organising focus groups to analyse citizens’ perceptions of their MPs.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Legislative Studies.

    1. Introduction: the French parliament in context
    2. O. Costa (CNRS, University of Bordeaux)

    3. From Theory to Practice: Political Representation in France
    4. S. Brouard (FNSP, University of Bordeaux), E. Kerrouche (CNRS, University of Bordeaux), O. Costa (CNRS, University of Bordeaux), E. Helbig (Ph.D. student, University of Stuttgart), T. Schnatterer (Ph.D student, University of Bordeaux)

    5. French MPs: Nation’s voice or local interest brokers?
    6. O. Costa (CNRS, University of Bordeaux), S. Brouard (FNSP, University of Bordeaux),  E. Kerrouche (CNRS, University of Bordeaux), T. Schantterer (Ph.D student, University of Bordeaux)

    7. Between representation and connectedness: Citizens' and MPs views about the proper way of holding office
    8. P. Lefebure (Sciences Po Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux)

    9. Wisdom or Indifference? The Principles of Representative Governments in the eyes of the French voters
    10. O. Rozenberg (Sciences Po Paris)

    11. Mapping French MPs Values
    12. V. Tiberj (FNSP, Sciences Po Paris), E. Kerrouche (CNRS, University of Bordeaux)

    13. The 2008 reform of the French Constitutions seen by the MPs
    14. O. Costa (CNRS, University of Bordeaux), T. Schnatterer (Ph.D student, University of Bordeaux), L. Squarcioni (Ph.D student, University of Bordeaux)

    15. MPs Specialization and their involvement in Law-making. Perceptions of citizens and effective activities of deputies
    16. C. Vigour (CNRS, University of Bordeaux)

    17. Conclusion: towards a stronger parliament in France?

               O. Costa (CNRS, University of Bordeaux)


    Olivier Costa is CNRS Research Professor at the Centre Emile Durkheim (Sciences Po Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux). He is also Director of Political and Administrative Studies at the College of Europe (Bruges Campus). His key research areas include French Parliament, European Parliament, comparative legislative politics and EU policy-making and policies.