Politics in Luxembourg: a new approach to analyze the participation and political representation in a pluralistic society

SCHEME: CORE

CALL: 2008

DOMAIN: ID - Identities, Diversity and Integration

FIRST NAME: Philippe

LAST NAME: Poirier

INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP / PPP: No

INDUSTRY / PPP PARTNER:

HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Elections, Political issues

START: 2009-04-01

END: 2011-09-30

WEBSITE: https://www.uni.lu

Submitted Abstract

The proposed research project consists in the conceptualization, the operationalization and the scientificevaluation of new methodological tools to analyze political participation and representation inLuxembourg. The innovative design of the project combines the study of two complementary onlinemodules aimed at informing and enabling citizens to hold their representatives accountable for theirpublic positions and actions.First, POLUX aims at evaluating the electoral impact and the scientific usefulness of the online VotingAdvice Application (VAA) tool that will be introduced in the context of the electoral research financedby the Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies for the coming national (and EU) elections of 2009. This toolwill provide citizens with information on their political profile and how the latter matches with thepolitical offer (parties and candidates), thereby giving them a voting ‘advice’ in case they would voteaccording to their proximities on a number of issues for which they would have indicated theirpreferences (their position on an issue and the importance they accord to a broader category of issues).Not only will voters but also citizens without voting rights (foreign residents, citizens under 18 years old)be invited to complete these online questionnaires, giving the social scientists’ community a largequantity of information on people’s values. The project will also allow for a number of analyses such asthe positioning of parties and candidates in political space, the potential for using data drawn from VAAsas alternatives of traditional mass surveys in the future (by comparing data drawn from the two sources)and the political impact of VAAs on opinion formation, electoral behaviour and political participation atlarge.The second objective consists in the setting up of a complementary tool, what we term here theLegislative Monitoring Application (LMA), which will enable citizens to check the voting behaviour oftheir representatives on legislation during the first part of the new parliamentary term. Through theanalysis of these data on behaviour and those collected on attitudes for the purpose of the VAAinstrument, the project be able to assess the performance of mandate theory in multi-party parliamentarydemocracy, evaluate the strength of party discipline and feed into a more general topic, politicalrepresentation through parties and their action in parliament, a clearly under-researched field inLuxembourg.Overall, we aim at contributing to the scientific debates around the emerging field usually termed as ‘edemocracy’and evaluating the potential and limits of its tools for social science research. The projectclearly fits into wider research themes studied by the team at the University of Luxembourg andintegration with European networks of comparative research is assured. It also has another dimension: asa large audience is expected to contribute to this large-scale experiment, benefits will also be generatedfor citizens in terms of non-costly gains in political information. This could serve the goals of increasedpolitical accountability and the related quality of governance, as well as needs for political integration inthe specific demographic context of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

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