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Political representation in local governance: a survey analysis of councillor attitudes and behaviour in Belgium

Tom Verhelst (UGent) , Herwig Reynaert (UGent) , Kristof Steyvers (UGent) and Filip De Rynck (UGent)
(2014) ACTA POLITICA. 49(2). p.144-173
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Abstract
Recent evolutions in Western societies have sparked renewed debate on the state of political representation. This article contributes to the debate by applying a multifaceted typology developed by Andeweg and Thomassen (2005) to study political representation in Belgian local governance. The article empirically outlines the notions of 856 local councillors on political representation at the attitudinal and behavioural level. Furthermore, it searches to explain variation in the latter according to councillors' political and personal profile, their contact pattern, and the local government context. The article paints a balanced picture. The largest group of councillors prefer an all-round style, paying equal importance to authorization, accountability, delegation and responsiveness as basic styles or modes of political representation. Still we perceive a clear shift from councillors' attitudes, in which delegation takes the upper hand, to their acclaimed behaviour, which becomes more entrepreneurial as it is often hypothesized. Meanwhile, councillors' personal profile and contact pattern seem the most important determinants of political representation.
Keywords
DEMOCRACY, ROLE ORIENTATIONS, NETWORKS, EUROPE, LEGISLATURES, GOVERNMENT, LEADERSHIP, POLICY, political representation, local councillors, Belgium, attitudes, behaviour

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Chicago
Verhelst, Tom, Herwig Reynaert, Kristof Steyvers, and Filip De Rynck. 2014. “Political Representation in Local Governance: a Survey Analysis of Councillor Attitudes and Behaviour in Belgium.” Acta Politica 49 (2): 144–173.
APA
Verhelst, T., Reynaert, H., Steyvers, K., & De Rynck, F. (2014). Political representation in local governance: a survey analysis of councillor attitudes and behaviour in Belgium. ACTA POLITICA, 49(2), 144–173.
Vancouver
1.
Verhelst T, Reynaert H, Steyvers K, De Rynck F. Political representation in local governance: a survey analysis of councillor attitudes and behaviour in Belgium. ACTA POLITICA. 2014;49(2):144–73.
MLA
Verhelst, Tom, Herwig Reynaert, Kristof Steyvers, et al. “Political Representation in Local Governance: a Survey Analysis of Councillor Attitudes and Behaviour in Belgium.” ACTA POLITICA 49.2 (2014): 144–173. Print.
@article{4109151,
  abstract     = {Recent evolutions in Western societies have sparked renewed debate on the state of political representation. This article contributes to the debate by applying a multifaceted typology developed by Andeweg and Thomassen (2005) to study political representation in Belgian local governance. The article empirically outlines the notions of 856 local councillors on political representation at the attitudinal and behavioural level. Furthermore, it searches to explain variation in the latter according to councillors' political and personal profile, their contact pattern, and the local government context. The article paints a balanced picture. The largest group of councillors prefer an all-round style, paying equal importance to authorization, accountability, delegation and responsiveness as basic styles or modes of political representation. Still we perceive a clear shift from councillors' attitudes, in which delegation takes the upper hand, to their acclaimed behaviour, which becomes more entrepreneurial as it is often hypothesized. Meanwhile, councillors' personal profile and contact pattern seem the most important determinants of political representation.},
  author       = {Verhelst, Tom and Reynaert, Herwig and Steyvers, Kristof and De Rynck, Filip},
  issn         = {0001-6810},
  journal      = {ACTA POLITICA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {144--173},
  title        = {Political representation in local governance: a survey analysis of councillor attitudes and behaviour in Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ap.2013.12},
  volume       = {49},
  year         = {2014},
}

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