Publication Type: Journal article / chapter
Countries: UK
Authors: Emma Crewe
Funders: ERC

This chapter is about transforming parliament’s culture. Democracy is a work in progress around the world and one of the key sites offering opportunities for a transformation of our political processes can be found within parliaments. Focusing on one aspect of these processes, the organisation of political interaction at the heart of our democracies deserves our attention. Political work is made up of endless encounters between politicians, and between them and others in society, in both face-to-face and digital interaction, navigating both time and space. Some of these encounters are ritualised – replete with rules, symbols of power and performances that aim to demonstrate various formal and informal hierarchies – while others are informal and spontaneous. These include and exclude different groups in various ways depending on their rules, habits and rhythms. Some of the problems that emerge within these encounters, as seen from different perspectives, are discussed in this chapter and then suggestions made as to what we might do about them. Guided by the principles of recognising the complexity and value of different kinds of knowledge; promoting diversity, equity and inclusion; enhancing wellness; and restoring ethics and standards, the argument is advanced for rethinking the way interaction is organised in parliament. More specifically, recommendations are made for changing the rhythms, rituals and symbols as part of a reimagining of Westminster.