Tom Louwerse awarded ORA grant for political representation research
Political scientist Tom Louwerse (Leiden University) and a team of international researchers have been awarded a NWO ORA grant. They are going to investigate political representation in an era in which voter alignment with political parties is steadily decreasing.
The main theme of the project The Nature of Political Representation in Times of Dealignment is the relation between elected politicians and the electorate. The last thirty years show a clear trend in this relationship: individual citizens are less and less connected to a single political party. This prompts the question about the ways in, and the extent to which citizens are being represented in politics. Louwerse and his colleagues will investigate whether the relationship between individual members of parliament and voters offers an alternative to, or an enhancement of, collective representation by political parties. Therefore, they are going to research to what extent and under which conditions individual members of parliament to act on direct questions from citizens.
Louwerse will closely collaborate with Rosie Campbell (King’s College London) and Thomas Zittel (Goethe-University Frankfurt). The ORA grant is for a two-year period.
Louwerse’s team is one out of 16 research teams that successfully applied for the grant from Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; 63 proposals were shortlisted). The grant forms a part of the Open Research Area for the Social Sciences (ORA) programme, which is earmarked for international collaboration projects. The aim of the ORA programme is a better understanding of collective and individual behaviour, preferably with pointers for policy and practice. ORA is run by the national research organisations of France, Germany, the Netherlands, as well as by the British Economic and Social Research Council.