Building: (Building B) Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 3rd floor Room: 302
The presence and influence of peripheral elites in national political institutions are frequently handled by the press. Indeed, it is not unusual to read newspapers focusing on the geographic origin of cabinet ministers or on the regional politicians present at the head of national parties. However, the lack of a comprehensive vision of this issue tends to feed flashy titles alerting about the influence of the ‘Scottish Raj’ in London, the ‘Breton lobby’ and the ‘Corsican connection’ in Paris, the Catalan and Galician pressure groups in Madrid, or the ‘Bavarian power’ in Berlin.
This issue is of great interest for political science, since it shows the importance — real or not — of some peripheral groups in national politics, and as such, it deserves a specific treatment based on a scientific methodology. Drawing on the approach of Section 13, ‘Comparative Territorial Politics: Citizens, Parties, Elections, and Governments in Multilevel States’, this panel questions both the presence and the influence of those regional elites in the central institutions of Western European countries (including executive, legislative, and judiciary).
To a large extent, the concept of peripheral elites draws on the legacy of Stein Rokkan’s researches on the process of state formation in Western Europe and the rise of the centre-periphery cleavage. This historical dynamic involved the concentration of power in some territories at the economic, cultural, and military-administrative levels. The result of the state-building process was the rise of peripheries with a different degree of integration vis-à-vis the centre: pure peripheries (strongly dependent and assimilated) and failed cores (that almost reached their independence over time and where a substantial feeling of distinctiveness remains). The present panel centres on both dimensions by including the political elites of failed cores (e.g., Scotland, Catalonia, Basque Country, or Flanders) and from pure peripheries (e.g., Wales, Brittany, Wallonia, or Andalusia).
The panel aims at bridging two different literature subfields, namely the study of territorial politics and of political elites. The panel is thus open to a broad range of disciplines like political science and sociology, but also history and geography, drawing on quantitative, mixed, or qualitative methods.
This panel includes scholars presenting case studies, comparative analyses, and more theoretical papers dealing with the following issues:
access: how do peripheral elites come to power at the central level?
What is the role of clientelist networks, political parties, and consociational arrangements?
integration: are peripheral elites conscious of their specificity? How do they strengthen their ties within the state institutions?
presence: where are peripheral politicians located in the state apparatus? Are there differences from one country to the other?
representation: are peripheral elites state- or region-oriented?
influence: what is the nature of their power and under which circumstances is it activated?