French Politics

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 302–317 | Cite as

Understudied and underestimated? What determines scientific attention on second chambers?

  • Tinette Schnatterer
Review Article


In the context of an upsurge in the popularity of bicameralism , the aim of this contribution is to map recent trends in the study of second chambers and to propose some guidelines of thought which should help to overcome existing shortcomings in this field of research. Building on the review of a new database of journal articles on second chambers, I identify three factors that positively influence the attention political scientist accord to second chambers: the classification of a second chamber as strong according to Lijphart, the direct election of its members as well as debates on the reform of the second chamber. This database further enables me to show that the main challenges identified in the literature regarding the research on second chambers are still valid: the quasi-absence of comparative studies and the observation that second chambers are mainly studied in relation with the first chambers and that little research has been conducted on their own (internal) dynamics. Hope can be derived however from new trends in the literature adopting a more actor-entered approach.


second chambers bicameralism Lijphart’s typology of second chambers comparative studies scientific attention 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tinette Schnatterer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Konstanz, Fachbereich Politik- und VerwaltungswissenschaftKonstanzGermany

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