Who Governs Southern Europe? Regime Change and Ministerial Recruitment, 1850-2000

Who Governs Southern Europe? Regime Change and Ministerial Recruitment, 1850-2000

Who Governs Southern Europe? Regime Change and Ministerial Recruitment, 1850-2000

Who Governs Southern Europe? Regime Change and Ministerial Recruitment, 1850-2000

Synopsis

"In modern politics, Cabinet ministers are major actors in the arena of power as they occupy a strategic locus of command from which vital, authoritative decisions flow continuously. Who are these uppermost policy makers? What are their background characte"

Excerpt

In modern polities, Cabinet ministers are major actors in the arena of power as they occupy a strategic locus of command from which vital, authoritative decisions flow continuously. Who are these uppermost policy-makers? What are their background characteristics and credentials? How are they selected and which career pathways do they travel in their ascent to power?

This set of research issues, commonly raised in elite studies, has guided the present collection of essays, which provides the first comprehensive, empirical account of the composition and patterns of recruitment of ministerial elites in Southern Europe throughout the last 150 years, thus encompassing different historical circumstances and political settings-liberal, authoritarian and democratic. in spite of their national specificities, the four countries examined here (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) share some basic structural and cultural features as well as similar experiences in their political development, namely as regards regime change. the aim of this volume is to assess how and to what extent different regime types and modes of transition have propelled elite transformation in such countries, and to scrutinize national similarities and differences, in order to identify major trends and variations over time and across space.

For each country study, national experts were asked to address three main topics. First, to define the periodization and nature of major regime changes, underlying the principal factors potentially affecting political recruitment and, more specifically, providing quantitative information on the size of the ministerial elite, Cabinet duration, the length of ministerial careers and the mobility through ministerial portfolios.

Second, to outline the social profile of the entire group of ministers in each period, and to single out the main changes and continuities over time. Resorting to techniques of collective biography, the following principal background variables are explored, as systematically as possible: place of birth (or residence), age, gender, educational credentials (academic degrees, fields of study, universities attended), and occupational training and status (public versus private employment). Social origins are also appraised, albeit in more qualitative terms.

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