This course is discontinued

STV9365 – Institutions for Democracy? Parliaments, Parties and Interest groups in Comparative Perspective

Learning outcome

Parliaments are the critical institutions through which popular sovereignty evolved, and political parties and interest groups are the main organizations citizens can form to exercise this sovereignty.  The course will analyze the forms that these political institutions take in contemporary democracies, based on recent comparative research. The focus will be on how these institutions provide and channel representation of citizens’ preferences into decision-making at national level. The emphasis will be on how they act and interact to generate responsiveness and accountability.


The course is open to PhD students. PhD students from Norwegian institutions will have priority, but the course will also be open to other interested participants. There is no course fee but participants must cover their own travel and stay.

Limitation: 15 participants
Application deadline: July 31



Time: 23 - 25 September 2015
Venue: The Norwegian Centre for Research in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (CFN/PFN), 190, Avenue de France, Paris

Convenors and lecturers

  • Elin Haugsgjerd Allern, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Knut Heidar, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Kaare Strøm, Professor, University of California San Diego and University of Oslo

Other course lecturers   

  • Florence Faucher, Professor, Science Po., Paris
  • Olivier Rozenberg, Professor, Sciences Po., Paris
  • Sabine Saurugger , Professor, Science Po., Grenoble  (tbc)

Practical arrangements

  • A 1-2 page abstract on the dissertation theme (research question, method, data/sources and central literature) for those PhD students presenting their project in the seminar should be sent to Knut Heidar by September 1.  This abstract will be distributed to all participants before the seminar begins.
  • There will be Q&A (and comments) after lectures and in each session.
  • All lectures and discussions will be in English.
  • Accommodation will be arranged for all participants in central Parisian hotels (ca. 100 € per night). Information on seminar address and hotel accommodations will be distributed by e-mail later
  • All meals will be covered by CFN/PFN for all participants.

Preliminary program

Wednesday, September 23

0930-1000: Registration; coffee and tea
1000-1015: Welcome and about the centre: Bjarne Rogan, Professor and Academic Director of The Norwegian Centre for Research in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in Paris.

Parliamentary Democracy: Inevitable, Sustainable, Impossible?

1015-1100 Perspectives and background 
1100-1200 How institutions shaped democracy: the history


1200-1300 Parliaments: structures and processes

1300-1400 Lunch

1400-1500 Parliaments: personnel and recruitment
1500-1600 Deparliamentarization? The Case of France
1600-1700 Student presentations (Adjustable according to number of students)

Thursday, September 24


0900-1000 Parties: structures and processes
1000-1100 Parties: personnel and recruitment

Interest groups

1200-1300 Party-interest groups connections

1300-1400 Lunch

1400-1500 Interest groups: strategies and influence
1600-1700 Student presentations (Adjustable to number of students)

Friday, September 25

Parties, cont.

9000-1000 The impact of extra-parliamentary parties

On democratic institutions

1000-1100 Some theoretical perspectives
1100-1130 Discussion
1130-1230 Student presentations (Adjustable to number of students)

End of course

1230-1300 Course practicalities (credits, papers, evaluation, etc.)


The course will give participants five (5) ECTS credit points if registered in PhD-programs at the Social Science Faculty, University of Oslo. Other Norwegian PhD student will obtain credit points according to the rules applying at their respective departments. Students are expected to give a brief presentation of their PhD-project during the seminar (max. 10 min.) and to write a short essay based on their participation in the course; the essay should be completed within a month after the seminar. A reading list will be issued in advance.

Facts about this course







Teaching language