Parliamentary scholars tend to classify the work of Members of Parliament (MPs) into roles and measure their activities, votes and outputs. They thereby miss the contradictory, performative and ambivalent processes in politics. Influenced by Goffman’s (1959) theatrical analogy in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, I have tried to shift attention towards everyday processes by writing about performance and relationships in MPs’ political work. However, critical of my own former bias towards mind, knowledge and temporal perspectives, in my recent book on the Anthropology of Parliaments (2021) and in this chapter, I bring bodies and space more directly into the centre of my analysis. Building on ethnographic studies of space in parliaments (Abélès 2000, Floret 2010, Norton 2019, Puwar 2014, Rai 2014), and following Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis (2013), in this chapter I will propose a systematic way to research the diversity of MPs’ work by looking at the rhythms of performance through time and space, using examples from my own ethnographic research into the House of Commons (2015).
In: Psarra, Sophia, (eds.), Sternberg, Claudia Schrag, (eds.) and Staiger, Uta, (eds.), Parliament Buildings: The architecture of politics in Europe. London: University College London Press