Parliamentary Representatives in Europe 1848-2000 deals with long-term changes in parliamentary recruitment and patterns of political careers in eleven European countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) from the middle of the 19th century to the end of the millennium. Through individual country chapters, written by international experts native to each area, the book focuses on transformations in the social background, education, political career paths, and entrenchment in pressure groups and party offices of those who sat in national parliaments. These transformations are traced on the basis of a comprehensive and integrated data-set (the DATACUBE) providing, for the first time, the prerequisites for a truly comparative study of parliamentary representation in Europe. In addition, information about institutional settings, the development of party systems, and the political events and processes of social change that helped to shape the recruitment and career paths of members of parliament, is given for each country.
Further, by placing the representative at the centre, two fundamental and to some extent contradictory processes underlying the development towards parliamentary democracy in Europe, namely democratisation and political professionalisation, are addressed. The book concludes with a synopsis which proposes a developmental model of parliamentary representation in Europe during the last 150 years.
Heinrich Best is Professor, Institute for Sociology, Fredrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Maurizio Cotta is Professor of Sociology, University of Sienna