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The Political Executive: Cabinet Government Praxis Between Laws and Norms (POLITEX)

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What shapes the role of the cabinet minister? Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash

About the project

POLITEX asks four fundamental and interrelated questions:

  • What are the status and functions of the government cabinet?
  • How does the cabinet make its decisions?
  • What characterizes and shapes the role of the cabinet minister?
  • How are norms about agenda setting, decision-making, and roles in the cabinet transferred to new office holders?

The project also studies the persistent tension a cabinet is in, between fragmenting forces (e.g., multiparty governments and sectoral specialization) and integrating forces (e.g., decision rules and a strong PMO).

In political science and legal scholarship, formal regulations and institutional structures have often been privileged objects of studies. When the cabinet barely exists constitutionally, as in Norway, approaches focusing on norms and socialization must also be used to understand cabinet practice. Therefore, POLITEX combines sociological and historical perspectives with perspectives from political science and legal scholarship.

In terms of research design, the project is in-depth, spatial and temporal. Deepest data is collected for Norway, but considerable data is collected for Sweden and Denmark, too, to accommodate spatial comparisons. The project's data collection components are interviews with political and bureaucratic elites, a survey, document and archive study, and biographic data.

For the scientific community, the project entails a timely renewal of a research agenda that has been quiet the last 25 years. The aptness of the country cases and the multidisciplinary research design enable both the understanding of collegiality in the Nordic countries and the development of new theory on the forms of and conditions for collegiality. These insights can be used heuristically in the study of cabinet government in other countries and other political contexts.


This project is financed by Research Council Norway, from 1 December 2021-31 December 2025.


Project partners are University of Bergen and OsloMet.


Published Aug. 9, 2022 12:53 PM - Last modified Aug. 9, 2022 12:59 PM