This book reflects on the role and task perception as well as the behaviour of councillors in the changing context of local democracy. Political leadership at the local level has attracted growing attention in recent years in parallel with reforms of local government and of the municipal administration as well as the debate on a shift from government to governance. But this debate is mainly focused on single leaders, i.e. mayors or executive officers. Considering the power triangle of (i) the mayor, (ii) the municipal administration (executive officers) and (iii) the council, it is surprising that councillors have gained little interest so far.
The chapters start from a common conceptual framework. They start from the hypothesis that the role perception as well as the behaviour of councillors cannot be conceived of being determined directly by (i) both formal and informal institutional structures as well as by (ii) personal characteristics. Instead, this collection argues that the perceptions and behaviour of councillors are depending on their notion of democracy. Whilst the understanding of democracy can be affected by institutional structures, it also depends on the personal characteristics of the councillors.
This book was published as a special issue of Local Government Studies.
1. Introduction: The Role Perception and Behaviour of Municipal Councillors in the Changing Context of Local Democracy 2. Councillors’ Notions of Democracy, and their Role Perception and Behaviour in the Changing Context of Local Democracy 3. Citizen Democracy and the Responsiveness of Councillors: The Effects of Democratic Institutionalisation on the Role Orientations and Role Behaviour of Councillors 4. The Hidden Constitutions: How Informal Political Institutions Affect the Representation Style of Local Councils 5. New Public Management Reforms and Democratic Legitimacy: Notions of Democratic Legitimacy among West European Local Councillors 6. Urban Governance and its Impact on the Role Perception and Behaviour of European City Councillors