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Representation in the appointed state: the case of councillors in the West Midlands Regional Assembly.

Oliver, Thomas Charles Gordon (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The rise of indirectly elected institutions, such as the West Midlands Regional Assembly, has democratic implications for notions of accountability, legitimacy and representation. The representative function of these bodies must be explicitly fulfilled if they are to be considered democratic. The conceptual focus of this thesis is the representative function of members of the West Midlands Regional Assembly. The analysis applies a representative role framework based on Pitkin’s “Four Views of Representation” to explore the formalistic and substantive elements of representation through an appraisal of focus, style, role and scope. The results show that there are weak accountability structures in place, leading representatives to adopt a trustee conception of their roles. A grounded theory analysis is utilised to explore additional factors not covered in Pitkin’s framework. This surfaced the structural factors and role motivations that affect role choice. The thesis utilises Weick’s concept of sensemaking to explore the interpretation and enactment of different representative roles taking into account the importance of institutions in framing micro sensemaking processes. This new methodology permits an appraisal of the relative influence of institutional context, structure and individual agency and delivers a new model for understanding the logics of representative action in appointed bodies.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Skelcher, Chris (1951-) and Copus, Colin and Bottom, Karin
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Institute of Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society
Subjects:H Social Sciences (General)
JA Political science (General)
JS Local government Municipal government
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3117
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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