Historical approaches to the study of political executives

Matthew Laing, Brendan McCaffrie

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookOther chapter contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The existence of a political executive is a key feature of any political system: from eminently democratic regimes to totalitarian dictatorships, and every shade in between. In recent decades the long-term trend of putting constitutional and democratic constraints on the political executive is reversed. In addition to an autocratic turn in some countries, internationalization, securitization and a growing need for coordination shift the balance between governments and other political institutions. This re-empowerment of the political executive has contributed to its rediscovery in political science. As the 37 chapters in this volume demonstrate, the past two decades have seen an impressive outpouring of research on political executives. Edited and written by 49 of the most distinguished scholars in the field, this Oxford Handbook of Political Executives combines substantive stocktaking with setting new agendas for the next generation of political executive research. The book is organized around five themes. Part I, Theorizing and Researching Political Executives is devoted to the theoretical and methodological approaches in the study of political executives. Part II looks at The Composition and Life Cycle of Political Executives, from the formation to the termination of successive governments. Part III discusses The Dynamics and Developments within the Executive, such as hierarchical relations and internal political processes. Part IV focusses on The Dynamics and Developments between the Executive and the Broader Political Context, including interactions with the bureaucracy and parliament. Part V is devoted to Political Executives Beyond the Democratic Nation State, such as the European Union and autocratic regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Political Executives
EditorsRudy B. Andeweg, Robert Elgie, Ludger Helms, Juliet Kaarbo, Ferdinand Müller-Rommel
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780198809296
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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