The relationship between parliaments and citizens is one of the least studied subjects in legislative studies, yet this is a crucial dimension to understand parliaments and the role they play in our political systems. Furthermore, this relationship has gained considerable visibility over the last decade thanks in part to the development of new media, but also as a reaction to the trends of political apathy. In a context of increasing political disengagement, parliamentary discourse shifted attention from the traditionally predominant relationship with government to the relationship with citizens. Issues of legitimacy became more directly associated with the link between parliament and citizens, resulting in investment in new and more complex mechanisms for contact with citizens, even in the more centralised systems.
This book looks at a wide range of case studies across Europe and beyond, assessing overall strategies in the move towards stronger engagement with citizens. It assesses the extent to which the shift in discourse has led to actual changes in parliamentary practice.
This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Legislative Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Studying the Relationship between Parliament and Citizens 2. The Finnish Eduskunta: Still the Nordic ‘Vatican’? 3. Far Away, So Close: Parliament and Citizens in France 4. The Bundestag and German Citizens: More Communication, Growing Distance 5. The Paradoxes of Parliament–Citizen Connections in Hungary: A Window on the Political System 6. Parliament and Citizens in Italy: An Unfilled Gap 7. A Least Likely Case: Parliament and Citizens in the Netherlands 8. Developing Links Despite the Parties – Parliament and Citizens in Portugal 9. Parliament and Citizens in the United Kingdom 10. Parliaments and Citizens in Sub-Saharan Africa 11. Parliaments and Citizens in Latin America 12. Parliament and Citizens in Asia: The Bangladesh Case 13. Do Legislative Petitions Systems Enhance the Relationship between Parliament and Citizen? 14. How Are Parliaments Using New Media to Engage with Citizens? 15. Conclusion: Parliaments’ Endless Pursuit of Trust: Re-focusing on Symbolic Representation
Cristina Leston-Bandeira is a Senior Lecturer in Legislative Studies at the University of Hull.