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Seminar: Parliament Strikes Back: Agenda-setting and Power Voids in Early Representative Assemblies (with Tom Paskhalis)

Spring 2022 Seminars: 2nd March

Title: Parliament Strikes Back: Agenda-setting and Power Voids in Early Representative Assemblies (with Tom Paskhalis)

Speaker: Toni Rodon (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Wednesday, March 2, 14:00–14:45 (GMT)

Abstract: Previous research has sought to explain the emergence and predominance of early representative assemblies over monarchs. Yet, how parliamentarians behaved during the struggles for power remains largely unknown. We contend that parliamentary elites used periods of uncertainty to set the political agenda and show their strive for sovereignty. We test this claim on seventeenth century England using activities reported in the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In addition, we implement a novel strategy of measuring institutional power based on entropy of topic shares in daily records of parliamentary activity. Our results show that elites strategically used power voids to expand their attention to a wider set of topics, increase their pressure on the monarch and present themselves as rulers which were ready to govern. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of early and contemporary representative assemblies.
About the speaker: Toni Rodon is currently an Assistant Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before that, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and at the Spatial Social Science Lab at Stanford University (2014–2016). He has also been a visiting student at Nuffield College (University of Oxford), at the Institute for Social Change (University of Manchester) and at the Juan March Foundation (Center for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences). Toni’s research interests include electoral participation, political geography, comparative politics and historical political economy, as well as public opinion and the study of nationalism.

If Covid-19 guidelines allow, all events take place at UCD and are also live-streamed on Zoom. Please register here to receive the link and password to the online meeting and information on the room at UCD.