French deputies, their assistants and the uses of staff appropriations: A sociology of political work
Sociologie du travail
FR : Le Seuil
117 - 135 p.
Political work, Member of Parliament, Single member district system, Casework, Parliament, Political representation, France
This analysis focuses on how members of Parliament in France organize their staff. The way deputies distribute the tasks among their assistants suggests that the organization and division of labor should be understood mainly in relation to the pressures generated by MPs in their home district, since a seat in the National Assembly very much depends on providing services to constituents. The staff under the use of the single member district system is so involved in solving voters’ “personal” problems of various sorts that assistants are forced to devise strategies for regulating demand and providing often token responses. Developing relations with constituents even affects their legislative duties. For deputies, it is a way of reducing the “occupational” risks inherent in elective office. They must adapt to a voting system that incites them to adopt a conception of representation closer to that of spokesperson for the residents of their district than of representative of the Nation.