Nieuws-items Homepage EuParl.net
30-05PRESS RELEASE: Proposed cuts to the budgets of Dutch research institutes threaten the integrity of European parliamentary history
01-05Program international conference The Ideal Parliamant available
20-12-2012Parliaments in Europe as communicative space
18-12-2012CHPP celebrates its 10th anniversary
09-12-2012The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia from 1992 to 2012
|date||August 27 2012 - August 29 2012|
|organisation||University of Jyväskylä|
The Finnish member of the EuParl network is organising a workshop, held on 27-29 August at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Several of the Euparl members will participate at this workshop. Paul Seaward of the British 'History of Parliament', will open the workshop after which he will speak about the evolving concepts of the British Parliament. Andreas Schulz and Andreas Biefang of the German KGParl will speak about Parliamentarism in Germany 1848–1990.
Key information about the workshop
Parliament is a central European political institution, the forum of dissensus and debate between the representatives of the citizens par excellence. It controls the government and bureaucracy with a claim to sovereign decisions without an appeal. Deliberation, representation, responsibility (of government to the parliament) and sovereignty (of the parliament) form the core concepts of parliamentarism and distinguish parliament from other types of assemblies. This cluster of concepts sets an evident agenda for the historical analysis of questions that all parliaments are facing. More particularly so as each of the dimensions has been fiercely disputed in most of the European parliaments.
The parliamentary style of politics is a distinctively European one. By discussing the four conceptual dimensions of parliamentarism we can explore historical patterns in their mutual relationships. Which dimensions were most important in various periods and European countries? What can we say about their temporal layers in history, their pace of change or the mutual dependencies that either expand or mitigate the conceptual changes taking place between these dimensions? We can thematise the explicit and highly controversial changes as opposed to the less visible and unintended changes in each of the parliamentary dimensions and in relation to the divide between the parliamentary vs. non-parliamentary politics and intra-parliamentary politics. The analysis also allows us to trace back the debates on the nature of ‘parliament’ within different parliaments, countries and genres of writing as the first comparative step in conceptual history, eventually identifying the momentum of parliamentarisation in terms of each dimension. The workshop consists of a selection of representative national or regional case studies rather than attempting to be completely comprehensive. The primary units of comparison are the parliaments themselves.
Parliaments use vernacular languages, and they are formed on a national basis, serving as a symbol of the transcendence of sub-national particularities. At the same time, the parliamentarisation of the representative governments refers to the conceptualisation of a definite type of historical experience. This change has in some contexts taken place rapidly, and it is also applicable to cases such as the replacement of Soviet-style facade assemblies by proper parliaments. The parliamentary experience, vocabulary, representation and procedure of deliberations tend to create transnational parliamentary political cultures in which the parliamentary language transcends the vernacular ‘dialects’. For parliamentarism the processes of conceptual transfer and translation are less between vernacular languages than between the general parliamentary language and its national ‘dialects’. Nonetheless, the British and French parliamentary cultures, as historically first expressions of the parliamentary concepts, play the double role: in them the parliamentary concepts and national political traditions are intertwined.
Parliamentarism has been one of the main foci of European political controversies since the early nineteenth century. It has provoked studies from different perspectives (political theory, institutional analysis, rhetorical approaches, parliamentary procedures, cultural studies and conceptual history) and in different disciplines (history, political science, constitutional law, rhetoric, linguistics, philosophy and women’s studies). Yet histories of parliaments have mainly remained on national level and lacked attention to conceptual aspects. Constitutional law and political science have studied narrowly the regime aspect of parliamentarism, while linguistic and rhetorical studies have rather used parliamentary debates for illustrating some general problems of discussion and debate. Emerging new studies on the cultural history of parliaments and political communication have not usually focused on the parliamentary concepts and their histories either.
Viewed from a linguistic point of view, the European parliamentary mode of politics is more original than what either scholars or parliamentarians themselves have recognised thus far. No other form of politics has developed an equally sophisticated procedure for dealing with controversies on its agenda in the presence of adversaries as the parliament. This interpretation provides a new vision on the projects and realisations of parliamentarism in the past, present and future, widely different from the established views in political science, history and law.
The parliamentarisation of European politics from the eighteenth to early twentieth century deserves a close comparative conceptual study from the perspectives of new, linguistically oriented political history, linguistics, rhetoric and political theory. Re-parliamentarisation also offers a fresh perspective to the comparative conceptual history of overcoming dictatorships. The relative parliamentarisation of the EU can be analysed from this perspective as well.
Parliament and parliamentarism offer an excellent topic for a comparative conceptual history thanks to the availability of records from most parliaments, the international character of the parliamentary vocabulary that facilitates the comparison between parliaments, the character of parliaments as sites of conceptual controversies par excellence, and the ongoing revival and renewal of parliamentary studies in several European countries. The workshop opens up conceptual historical studies to the direction of new parliamentary history, rhetoric and political theory. Simultaneously, it offers thematically and methodologically a new approach to conceptual history, radicalising two principles frequently declared but seldom practised: the comparative aspect and the inherent connection between concepts and debates.
The purpose of the workshop is both to review existing research and other forms of available information (mainly in parliamentary records) on the conceptual history of the parliament in a synthesizing manner, and to reconsider the distinct history and specific political significance of the European concept of parliament. A representative team of first-rank scholars in parliamentary history, rhetoric and theory have been recruited as contributors, and the Jyväskylä workshop will enable them to discuss the subthemes with sufficient time – and for the first time all gathered together.
Participants are asked to deliver their draft chapters by 31 May 2012 to all the other participants. The workshop will be followed by intensive rewriting and editing, and the definite and non-negotiable delivery date for the final draft chapters will be on 31 December 2012. All three editors are experienced coordinators of international comparative volumes and expect to complete editing during 2013 so that the book should come out in 2014.
The comparative volume, due to be published by Berghahn Books, will set the scene for new kinds of international cooperative projects on parliament and parliamentarism. It will also lead to some of the first concrete results in comparative conceptual history at the European level, establishing this fresh approach in the academic fields of history, linguistics and political theory.
This workshop has its own blog. The blog includes the updated program as well as other useful information regarding the workshop.