Publication Type: Podcast / webinar
Countries: Global
Authors: Emma Crewe
Funders: AHRC GCRF

Westminster Foundation for Democracy hosted a webinar about MPs’ work with Emma Crewe presenting her research.

Most scholarship and policy work on understanding parliaments and their work focuses either on parliaments as systems or on the MPs within them as individuals. Anthropological analysis provides insight into the missing links – relationships and processes of interaction – thereby helping to explain what goes on between MPs (and others) in their everyday political work.

In this session, Emma Crewe will provide a theory of MPs’ work that aims to throw light on political relationships. MPs’ work entails endlessly shapeshifting, adjusting to different audiences and pressures, so they have to rely on shared processes (riffs, rhythms and rituals) to create a sense of continuity and stability. To understand MPs’ work, and to assist them in strengthening their capacity to deepen democracy, we should give attention to these riffs, rhythms and rituals and how they impact on relationships within our political worlds.

Key questions of exploration:

  • How can we deal with MPs’ diversity of needs, pressures and challenges?
  • How much do cultural and political differences in each place create different kinds of relationships between MPs and others?
  • How can relationships between MPs, but also with the media, civil society, constituents and others, contribute to a deeper democracy in specific places?
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