Demokratiets veje: En sammenlignende studie i valgsystemerne i Storbritannien og Danmark

Tina Sørensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis comprises a comparative analysis of the evolution of the electoral systems based on historical and cultural conditions in Denmark and Great Britain, and it furthermore investigates the political effects of the different political systems. In my research I consider that societies are different and that part of the explanation is to be found in a society’s cultural context. This thesis begins with a conceptualization of culture and cultural differences and is followed by a discussion of the types of electoral systems currently in use in Denmark and Great Britain; the focus is on the causes and the effects of the electoral systems. Two explanations for why the electoral systems are different in Denmark and Great Britain are suggested: culturally bound differences and the historical setting. The culturally bound differences are examined by means of leading researchers whose work has fostered the foundation for my analysis of culture-specific differences between the two countries. I begin by giving a brief yet thorough account of their theories and hypotheses of cross-cultural differences followed by an evaluation of their theories with a specific view to examining whether their theories may apply to the field of electoral systems. This is followed by a fairly brief account of the historical background of the electoral system in Denmark and Great Britain from the earliest vestiges of democracy to our modern form of democratic, parliamentary representation. The historical account takes into consideration the land-mark events that led to the formation of the present form of government in these two countries. In my discussion of the political effects of the two electoral systems, I concentrate on their effects on political institutions, party structure and strategies, and voting behaviour of the two countries in question. As a result of my investigation, I arrive at the conclusion that the cultural theorists may well provide certain interesting dimensions and a broad framework within which the workings of the political systems can be seen, but they do not contribute substantially to a concrete explanation or understanding of the underlying causes of the different development of the two political systems. An exception is Pippa Norris, who, while refraining from explaining the causes of the differences between the systems, gives valuable contributions to the understanding of the consequences of these differences. Thus, I must conclude that the impact of the historical setting has proved very strong, although the influence of cross-cultural differences should not be ignored.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages78