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Parliamentarism: A Concept and its Practice

P232
Kari Palonen
University of Jyväskylä
Zoltán Gábor Szucs
Centre for Social Sciences

Abstract

In political science after WW II a textbook definition of ‘parliamentarism’ exclusively as a type of regime based on the government’s responsibility to the parliament has been taken for granted. Older conceptualisations on parliamentary politics as ‘government by discussion’, contemporary studies of parliamentary rhetoric and discourse in the humanities as well as the experiences of parliamentarians emphasise, however, rather other dimensions of the concept. Among them we could mention for example the discussions of key parliament-constitutive concepts such as (parliamentary) deliberation, representation, responsibility and sovereignty, or of parliamentary freedoms (free speech, free mandate, free elections, freedom from arrest). To conceptual debates around parliamentarism we can further include the relationship of parliamentary debate with other forms of deliberative rhetoric or the disputes on the changes of the intra-parliamentary procedural vocabulary and their political significance, for in relation to the increasing scarcity of parliamentary time.

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