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Crewe, Emma (2020) 'Anthropology of Parliaments.' In: Benoit, Cyril and Rozenberg, Olivier, (eds.), Handbook of Parliamentary Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Legislatures. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar, pp. 389-407.

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Parliaments are of the centre of webs created by democracy, complex sites where culture meets economics, psychology and politics; elected politicians consult with lobbyists, constituents and each other; and the political work of law-making and scrutiny is achieved. Inter-disciplinary approaches are vital in fathoming this complexity. Relationships are at the heart of politics so it is surprising to find that few anthropologists have ventured into parliaments. Their findings have revealed the hidden everyday workings of democratic politics in several countries but their approach is poorly understood. In this chapter, ethnographic research by anthropologists over thirty five years is reviewed and contrasted with ethnographies by political scientists, to explain how the theories, methods and contributions of different disciplines are complementary. With the capacity to offer rich accounts of specific parliaments, and generalise about the patterns found across different times and sites, anthropologists in collaboration with other disciplines have the potential to transform the study of parliament into a more entangled form of inquiry.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
ISBN: 9781789906509
Copyright Statement: This is a draft chapter. The final version is available in Handbook of Parliamentary Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Legislatures edited by Cyril Benoît and Olivier Rozenberg, published in 2020, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 10:07
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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