Understanding the opposition of peers to an elected House of Lords through Hirschman’s Rhetoric of Reaction

Richard Reid

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    There is yet to be a comprehensive and systematic study of the views of peers on reform of the House of Lords. This article provides the first such study based on a powerful dataset of interviews with 77 peers during the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government. Albert Hirschman's typology of reactionary rhetoric is applied to the key themes emerging from the interviews. This article demonstrates that the opposition of peers can be understood as being based on the arguments of perversity, futility and jeopardy. In addition, an important strand of opposition to reform can be characterised as temporality. A systematic understanding of the views of those peers who oppose reform could potentially enable the formulation of more successful proposals for wholesale change than those set out by the Coalition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-247
    JournalBritish Politics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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