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Parliament the Mirror of the Nation Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)

Parliament the Mirror of the Nation By Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)

Parliament the Mirror of the Nation by Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)


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Summary

How did the Victorian era - the epoch when the modern democratic state was made - understand democracy, parliamentary representation, and diversity? Here, Gregory Conti examines how the Victorians conceived the representative and deliberative functions of the House of Commons and what it meant for parliament to be the 'mirror of the nation'.

Parliament the Mirror of the Nation Summary

Parliament the Mirror of the Nation: Representation, Deliberation, and Democracy in Victorian Britain by Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)

The notion of 'representative democracy' seems unquestionably familiar today, but how did the Victorian era - the epoch when the modern democratic state was made - understand democracy, parliamentary representation, and diversity? In the famous nineteenth-century debates about representation and parliamentary reform, two interlocked ideals were of the greatest importance: descriptive representation, that the House of Commons 'mirror' the diversity that marked society, and deliberation within the legislative assembly. These ideals presented a major obstacle to the acceptance of a democratic suffrage, which it was widely feared would produce an unrepresentative and un-deliberative House of Commons. Here, Gregory Conti examines how the Victorians conceived the representative and deliberative functions of the House of Commons and what it meant for parliament to be the 'mirror of the nation'. Combining historical analysis and political theory, he analyses the fascinating nineteenth-century debates among contending schools of thought over the norms and institutions of deliberative representative government, and explores the consequences of recovering this debate.

About Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)

Gregory Conti is Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University, New Jersey. He has written numerous articles about the history of liberalism and democratic theory, with a special focus on questions of representation and freedom of speech. He has served as a research fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Notes on the text; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Diversity without democracy, the theory of the variety of suffrages, Part 1: Institutions and sociologies; 1.1. Mirroring and electoral diversity before the First Reform Act; 1.2. Institutions and Sociologies; 1.3. The Decline of the variety of suffrages; 2. Diversity without democracy, the theory of the variety of suffrages, Part 2: Values and criticisms; 2.1. Justice; 2.2 The rule of public opinion; 2.3. Deliberation; 2.4. Stability; 3. Democracy, diversity, and contestability: democracy against the variety of suffrages; 3.1. Diverse democracy; 3.2. Radical or undescriptive democracy; 4. Diversity with democracy? Proportional representation, Part 1: Concepts and techniques; 4.1 The pre-history of PR in Britain; 4.2. The institutional and conceptual core of Victorian PR; 5. Diversity with democracy? Proportional representation, Part 2: The debate on PR's moral and political effects; 5.1. The moral benefits of PR; 5.2. Millian rebuttals: the local constituency and the threat of stagnation; 5.3. The problem of parties; Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index.

Additional information

NLS9781108450959
9781108450959
1108450954
Parliament the Mirror of the Nation: Representation, Deliberation, and Democracy in Victorian Britain by Gregory Conti (Princeton University, New Jersey)
New
Paperback
Cambridge University Press
2020-01-16
432
N/A
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