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New Challenges, New Elites? Changes In The Recruitment And Career Patterns Of European Representative Elites

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Chapter Summary

Long term changes in the recruitment patterns of European representative elites can be described as the aggregate result of selectorates' responses to a sequence of fundamental problems challenging polities since the emergence of modern representative political institutions in the 19th century. This chapter explores whether and to what extent these changes are linked to changes in the party systems of Western European polities and whether new trends of parliamentary recruitment are emerging. It introduces the proposition that after the 'consensus challenge' of the post Second World War era a 'legitimacy challenge' is now shaping European legislative recruitment, increasing the value of social and cultural assets of candidates that are related to their expert-status and favouring properties signalling their moral integrity.

Keywords:consensus challenge; European representative elites; parliamentary recruitment; Western European polities



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