The Transfer of Parliamentary Ideals to Civil Society in the Netherlands in the 1970s
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Contemporary narratives of the development of Western democracy assume a decline of parliament since the 1970s. In the Netherlands however, parliament retains a crucial role, as a history of parliament in its political-cultural context shows: parliament’s claim to be the central stage for democratic representation is sustained through receptivity, assertiveness and dissemination. First, the perceived crisis induces MPs to develop an open, receptive attitude towards the representation of new societal interests within parliament. In some respects, parliament becomes a battleground for social movements during the 1970s. Secondly, the ambivalent response of parliament to rival representative claims is examined, focusing on the introduction of the ombudsman. Finally, this contribution shows how democratization in student and works councils in practice amounts to expanding parliamentarism and its values of deliberation and majority decision-making in society.