RepStyle: A New Style of Representation? (2015-2018)
The RepStyle project addresses two core questions: How do politicians perceive their role and perform their tasks as representatives? These questions are crucial for the evaluation of representative democracy as politicians constitute the vital link between citizens and the state. Politicians have historically been seen as party agents that act out party strategies in a disciplined manner, however, the link between political parties and citizens has changed leading to a decline in the number of party members and increased voting volatility. At the same time, parties have less control message and communications as news and social media offer new opportunities for direct communication with citizens. A potential consequence of these changes is that the representative link changes from a party dominated representation to a more personalized representation, where individual politicians become more important at the expense of political parties. RepStyle examines these questions drawing on surveys of candidates and representatives in Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden. We show how the links between the public and the state are multiplied and party control of the political process diminished.
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