Beyond Westminster and Congress

The Nordic Experience

Edited by Peter Esaiasson and Knut Heidar

Parliaments and Legislatures



506 pp. 6x9



In Beyond Westminster and Congress, thirteen scholars characterize parliamentary life and procedures in five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Although there are important institutional similarities among the five systems—all have unicameral parliaments that share common roots in the political history of the region—there are theoretically interesting differences among the five systems as well. These similarities and differences make the Nordic countries particularly interesting subjects for analysis.

The book had its genesis at the Nordic Political Science Association Conference in Oslo in 1993, where several of the contributors met to discuss the possibility of coordinating parliamentary surveys already underway in some of the Nordic countries. The five-nation project Nordic Legislature and Legislators was started shortly thereafter, and members of the research group met on several occasions over the next few years to organize their research. The collaborative nature of this project makes it a particularly valuable contribution to our understanding of how parliaments work.

The book begins by setting the Scandinavian parliaments in their historical and national settings. Part 1 analyzes political representation in the Nordic countries, focusing on the links between representatives and the represented. Part 2 analyzes parliamentary organization, the different roles of committees, parties, and leadership. In part 3, the analysis turns to parliamentary decision making, including the influence of interest groups and the executive. Finally, the authors consider relations between the national parliaments and the larger European setting, including representation in the European Parliament.

Contributors include

  • Hanne Marthe Narud
  • Henry Valen
  • Ólafur Th. Hardarson
  • Lena Wängnerud
  • Sören Holmberg
  • Torben K. Jensen
  • Magnus Hagevi
  • Erik Damgaard
  • Martin Brothén
  • Tapio Raunio
  • Matti Wiberg

Peter Esaiasson is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Göteborg University, Sweden. He is coauthor of Representation from Above: Members of Parliament and Representative Democracy in Sweden. Knut Heidar is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is coeditor of Parliamentary Party Groups in European Democracies.