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Parliaments' Endless Pursuit of Trust: Re-focusing on Symbolic Representation

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Abstract:

This conclusion reviews the styles of relationship between parliament and citizens visible in very different political systems across the world. It shows that increasingly this relationship follows different styles according to specific contexts and beyond the traditional perception of a specific type of representation. It then demonstrates that parliaments have finally become public institutions with the new millennium, opening up considerably by becoming more transparent, accessible and visible institutions. However, when it comes to developing real links between parliaments and citizens, the reality is very patchy. These developments are then assessed in light of levels of trust in parliament, to note that decline in trust may have little do to with poorer performance from parliaments. The study concludes by showing that re-focusing our understanding of the parliament–citizen relationship on symbolic representation allows us to understand what is missing in that relationship.

Keywords: Pitkin; parliaments and citizens; representation; symbolic representation; trust in parliament

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13572334.2012.706059

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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