02 oktober 2009

Promising Democracy

Today, Elin Naurin defends her thesis Promising Democracy. Parties, Citizens, and Election Promises.

Text taken from the book cover: "Everyone knows a promise is a promise. The saying is used all over the world and indicates that broken promises stir up feelings in most situation. This book sheds light on a controversial kind of promise, namely those that are given from political representatives to citizens before elections, so called election promises. The focus is what seems to be a puzzling controversy between scholars and citizens whether or not politicians actually keep their election promises. While scholars in political science claim that parties tend to act on most of their election promises citizens are presumed to hold the opposite view: that parties usually break their promises. This "Pledge Puzzle" guides Elin Naurin in her analyses of the often referred to, but not empirically investigated, "conventional wisdom" about election promises. What is meant by the importan notion of election promises that is tossed around in the societal and scholarly debate?

The author uses a wide range of methods and asks several questions of importance for our understanding of representative democracy: Do parties keep their election promises? How wide-spread is the image of the promise breaking politician? What is a broken election promise in the eyes of the citizens? Will parties be called promise breakers no matter what they actually say and do?"

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