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Title: Representation in the appointed state : the case of councillors in the West Midlands Regional Assembly
Author: Oliver, Thomas Charles Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 9984
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2011
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The rise of indirectly elected institutions, such as the West Midlands Regional Assembly, has democratic implications for notions of accountability, legitimacy and representation. The representative function of these bodies must be explicitly fulfilled if they are to be considered democratic. The conceptual focus of this thesis is the representative function of members of the West Midlands Regional Assembly. The analysis applies a representative role framework based on Pitkin’s “Four Views of Representation” to explore the formalistic and substantive elements of representation through an appraisal of focus, style, role and scope. The results show that there are weak accountability structures in place, leading representatives to adopt a trustee conception of their roles. A grounded theory analysis is utilised to explore additional factors not covered in Pitkin’s framework. This surfaced the structural factors and role motivations that affect role choice. The thesis utilises Weick’s concept of sensemaking to explore the interpretation and enactment of different representative roles taking into account the importance of institutions in framing micro sensemaking processes. This new methodology permits an appraisal of the relative influence of institutional context, structure and individual agency and delivers a new model for understanding the logics of representative action in appointed bodies.
Supervisor: Skelcher, Chris; Copus, Colin Sponsor: ESRC & West Midlands Regional Assembly
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General) ; JA Political science (General) ; JS Local government Municipal government