Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1999

Cross-National Comparative Research into Electoral Behaviour and Political Representation

Main Discipline: Political Science
Lecturer: Professor Hermann Schmitt
Institution: Mannheimer Zentrum f�r Europ�ische Sozial-forschung (MZES),
Mannheim University, Germany
Dates: August 9th - 13th 1999

Despite the strong impact of the Michigan School on electoral research around the globe, studies of electoral behaviour suffer a great deal from national specific perspectives. The course thus aims at opening students` eyes for the possibilities and problems associated with cross-national comparisons in electoral and representation research. In addition to individual-level factors such as issue orientations and partisanship, the role of political institutions in shaping behavioural opportunities and individual preferences will be discussed. Not the least important among those institutions is the election itself; this is why systematic differences in electoral behaviour between first- and second-order elections will be discussed and analysed.

The elections to the European Parliament will be compared with national parliamentary elections, and the challenge of political represen-tation will be discussed both on the national and the European level. The lectures will also put emphasis on the discussion of available data bases and research strategies which are capable of shedding light on cross-national variations in electoral behaviour and political representation. One database in particular will be prominently reviewed and used for exemplary analyses: the integrated Eurobarometer database of ZEUS.

Basic readings:

The lecturer
Hermann Schmitt is the director of ZEUS and the co-ordinator of the European Election Studies at the University of Mannheim. He publishes widely in the fields of political parties, electoral behaviour and political representation. Among his writings are Neue Politik in alten Parteien: zum Verh�ltnis von Gesellschaft und Parteien in der Bundesrepublik, Opladen 1987, and (with Angelika Scheuer), "Det folkliga st�det f�r EMU", in the Swedish EMU-study Sverige og EMU, Stockholm 1996; he also coedited (with F.U. Pappi), Parteien, Parlamente und Wahlen in Skandinavien, Frankfurt 1994, and (with Oskar Niedermayer), Wahlen und Europ�ische Einigung, Opladen 1994, and (with Jacques Thomassen) Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union, Oxford 1999.