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Do Descriptive Representatives Think Like Descriptive Representatives Should?

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Abstract:

In a theory of descriptive representation, the composition of the representative body more closely reflects the sociodemographics and experiences of the citizenry. Proponents of this type of representation assert that those elected officials who share similar demographic and experiential characteristics of their constituencies carry with them the sufficient empathy to evaluate and construct representative policy, e.g. women are more likely and are better able to construct policy that benefits women. A fundamental premise of the pro-descriptive representation argument is that parliamentarians will process political information, i.e. think, in accordance with their demographic and experiential characteristics. Analyzing the attitudes underlying the action of representatives such as building descriptive representation policy and other legislative initiatives beneficial to disadvantaged groups is a foundation for understanding whether descriptive representatives are more likely to think and act as expected. I use data of parliamentarians in the Polish Sejm, the Polish Parliamentarian WebSurvey 2005, to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze the attitudes of women, farmers, lower class, young, and old parliamentarians toward descriptive representation for gender, social class, and generations. I find that (a) parliamentarians from a disadvantaged background are more likely to support descriptive representation as an abstract ideal but that demographics are not as important in support for voluntary party gender quotas and (b) party ideology plays a significant role in attitudes toward descriptive representation in theory and praxis. Theoretical considerations and directions for future research conclude the paper.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

parti (122), represent (122), descript (120), polit (64), repres (63), women (60), gender (52), social (52), parliamentarian (51), econom (42), cathol (39), like (36), group (35), attitud (34), demograph (33), statist (33), anti (32), liber (31), class (31), cleric (30), legisl (30),

Author's Keywords:

descriptive representation, gender, class, age, inequality, quotas, politics
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Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p104278_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Dubrow, Joshua. "Do Descriptive Representatives Think Like Descriptive Representatives Should?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug 10, 2006 <Not Available>. 2017-01-23 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p104278_index.html>

APA Citation:

Dubrow, J. , 2006-08-10 "Do Descriptive Representatives Think Like Descriptive Representatives Should?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online <PDF>. 2017-01-23 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p104278_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In a theory of descriptive representation, the composition of the representative body more closely reflects the sociodemographics and experiences of the citizenry. Proponents of this type of representation assert that those elected officials who share similar demographic and experiential characteristics of their constituencies carry with them the sufficient empathy to evaluate and construct representative policy, e.g. women are more likely and are better able to construct policy that benefits women. A fundamental premise of the pro-descriptive representation argument is that parliamentarians will process political information, i.e. think, in accordance with their demographic and experiential characteristics. Analyzing the attitudes underlying the action of representatives such as building descriptive representation policy and other legislative initiatives beneficial to disadvantaged groups is a foundation for understanding whether descriptive representatives are more likely to think and act as expected. I use data of parliamentarians in the Polish Sejm, the Polish Parliamentarian WebSurvey 2005, to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze the attitudes of women, farmers, lower class, young, and old parliamentarians toward descriptive representation for gender, social class, and generations. I find that (a) parliamentarians from a disadvantaged background are more likely to support descriptive representation as an abstract ideal but that demographics are not as important in support for voluntary party gender quotas and (b) party ideology plays a significant role in attitudes toward descriptive representation in theory and praxis. Theoretical considerations and directions for future research conclude the paper.


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Women and Political Socialization: The Interaction of Gender and Media on Political Attitudes and Behavior

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Economic Liberalization, Social Cleavages, and Political Party Systems


 
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