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Inside Rationality: The Division of Labour in a Parliamentary Party Group

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This article analyses the legislative division of labour as a resource for legislators' attempts to present themselves as rational actors. Here rationality is conceptualised as legislators appear to understand it and particular attention is paid to how they collectively negotiate its boundaries. The study uses ethnographic data from the Finnish parliament, Eduskunta, focussing on activities in one parliamentary party group, the Centre Party of Finland. These data show that the division of labour is an important source for constructing stable legislative organisation. Two specific interpretative rules for making rationality claims are identified, namely reliability and trust, which together make the division of labour meaningful for the Finnish legislators.
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Keywords: Finland; Harold Garfinkel; division of labour; parliament; party group; rationality; the Centre Party

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2001

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