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Metropolitan Parliamentary Representation

Carlsberg Foundation Reintegration Fellowships

What

Located in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific primarily, periphery territories are areas that have some autonomy but are tied to a metropolitan power in such a way that they do not hold full local autonomy. In practice, their degree of autonomy varies: Some hold the integrated status of a special municipality within their metropole, while others only have a few areas - most generally foreign affairs and defense - decided within their metropole. Among other arenas, such decisions are deliberated within metropolitan parliaments. Through a comparative study of how the interests of people living in periphery territories are represented within their metropolitan parliaments, this project generates new knowledge about current periphery-metropole relations.

Why

Though the way peripheries are represented within their metropolitan parliaments constitutes an important substantive and symbolic part of the metropole-periphery relation, not much is known about this. Especially, though comparative knowledge on this type of representation is highly needed to qualify scientific and political deliberation on present and future periphery-metropole relations globally there is a dearth of such knowledge. Besides overcoming this lack of knowledge, the spatial incoherence of metropolitan parliamentary representation constitutes a novel case within the literature on equal political representation. Thus, studying this "odd case" may further theoretic innovation within the area of representation theory.

How

The project consists of a case study of the representation of Greenland in the Danish Parliament, Aruba, and Bonaire in the Dutch parliament, and Gibraltar in the British parliament. Here, representation in its formal, descriptive, substantive, and symbolic forms will be studied (Pitkin, 1967). The cases are chosen to provide for a study with formal institutional - and national - diversity and the study focuses on the past decade, thus including important events such as Hurricane Irma (2017), and periods following recent referendums on self-determination in Greenland (in 2009), and Bonaire (2010). The project employs elite in-depth interviews, together with content analysis of representative actions, and legal analysis.

SSR

The geographical location of most periphery territories makes them especially exposed to current climate changes, several of these are habited by groups of indigenous citizens among others and many are low- and middle-income areas. Additionally, most are prior colonies, and thus their situation has been on the agenda of the UN since its creation. By generating new important knowledge on the political situation of these and setting forth a set of normative ideals for good metropolitan representation, this project informs political deliberation on the political situation of the areas. To create the most value for citizens in the involved areas, the project holds several measures to ensure that its findings are dissembled to relevant actors from civil society and public institutions.