Representation (Hardback) book cover


Edited by Johannes Pollak, Christopher Lord

© 2018 – Routledge

622 pages

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Hardback: 9781472431127
pub: 2017-06-21

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Just thirty years ago, it was widely believed that democracy had triumphed as the only legitimate form of political rule; and that representative democracy was, in turn, the only feasible form of democracy in modern mass societies. Yet, representative democracy is now thought to be in crisis. Populism is, above all, a crisis in representation. Populists question how far the views of the people can ever be authentically represented, least of all by ‘representatives’ made unrepresentative by the very fact of devoting their careers to representation.

The crisis in representation is a double crisis. First, it is a crisis in democratic political systems. How should publics govern themselves as equals if not through representatives they elect to parliaments and governments? And how should they elect representatives to parliaments except through political parties that frame policy choices and select would-be representatives for competitions for the people’s vote? How, indeed, can mass democracy work without filling in the long gaps between competitions for the people’s vote with the more informal representation of civil society interests, and without the daily impertinence of some people claiming to be able to represent the views of others in public debate?

Second, any crisis of representation is one of democratic political thought. As this volume shows, much political thought, ancient and modern, has been shaped by the question of when some can rightfully claim to ‘stand in for’ or ‘speak up for’ others.

If, indeed, representation is in crisis, we need to know what is in crisis. After, then, an introduction setting out the main possibilities and problems of representation, this reader organises core attempts to understand representation into 7 thematic sections. The first on ‘Grasping Representation’ includes several courageous attempts to ‘grasp’ what is notoriously one of the most slippery concepts in the study of politics. The second section on ‘descriptive representation’ brings together discussions of the idea that representatives should somehow resemble the represented. The third section on ‘representation, democracy, accountability and legitimacy’ includes discussions of the relationship between representation and other qualities of democratic government. The fourth section on the ‘representative claim’ turns to one of the most striking innovations in recent debates: namely, that much of what we call representation is itself constructed through the process of some people making claims to represent that are then accepted or rejected by others. A fifth section brings together contributions that attempt to look ‘beyond electoral representation’ to more informal ways in which some people can ‘stand in for’ or ‘speak up’ for others . A final section on ‘challenges to political representation’

Table of Contents


Edited by Johannes Pollack and Christopher Lord




1. Jane Mansbridge, ‘Rethinking Representation’, American Political Science Review 97, 4, 2003, 515-527.

2. Heinz Eulau and Paul D. Karps, ‘The Puzzle of Representation: Specifying Components of Responsiveness’, Legislative Studies Quarterly 2,1977, 233-254.

3. David Plotke, ‘Representation is Democracy’, Constellations, 4, 1997, 19-34.

4. John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth (2009), "Electoral Representation and the Aristocratic Thesis’, in I. Shapiro et al. (eds.), Political Representation (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 271-303.

5. Russell Hardin, ‘Representing Ignorance’, Social Philosophy and Policy 21, 2004, 76–99.

6. Andrew Rehfeld, ‘Towards a General Theory of Representation’, The Journal of Politics 68, 1, 2006, 1-21.

7. Philip Pettit, ‘Varieties of Public Representation’, in I. Shapiro et al. (eds.), Political Representation (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 61-89.

8. Suzanne Dovi, ‘Preferable Descriptive Representatives: Will Just Any Woman, Black, or Latino Do?’, American Political Science Review, 96, 4, 2002, 745–754.

9. Anne Phillips, ‘Democracy and Representation: Or, Why Should it Matter Who Our Representatives Are?’, in Anne Phillips (ed.), Feminism and Politics (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 224-240.

10. Iris Marion Young, ‘Deferring Group Representation’, in Will Kymlicka and Ian Shapiro (eds), Ethnicity and Group Rights (New York University Press, 1986), pp. 349–376.

11. Jane Mansbridge, ‘Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent "Yes"’, The Journal of Politics 61, 3, 1999, 628–57.

12. Andrew Rehfeld, ‘The Concepts of Representation’, American Political Science Review 105, 3, 2011, 631-641.

13. Christopher Lord and Johannes Pollak, ‘Representation and Accountability: Communicating Tubes?’, West European Politics 33, 5, 2010, 968-988.

14. Lisa Disch, ‘Toward a Mobilization Conception of Democratic Representation’, American Political Science Review 105, 1, 2011, 100-114.

15. Hanna Fenichel, ‘Representation and Democracy: Uneasy Alliance’, Scandinavian Political Studies 27, 3, 2004, 335-342.

16. Jane Mansbridge, ‘A "Selection Model" of Representation’, Journal of Political Philosophy 17, 4, 2009, 369–398.

17. Philip Pettit, ‘Representation, Responsive and Indicative’, Constellations 17, 3, 2010, 426–434.

18. Michael Saward, ‘Mapping the Representative Claim’, in The Representative Claim (Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 35-57.

19. Christopher Lord and Johannes Pollak, ‘The Pitfalls of Representation as Claims-Making in the European Union’, Journal of European Integration 35, 5, 2013, 517-530.

20. John S. Dryzek and Simon Niemeyer, ‘Discursive Representation’, American Political Science Review 10, 24, 2008, 481-493.

21. James Bohman, ‘Representation in the Deliberative System’, in John Parkinson and Jane Mansbridge (eds), Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 72-94.

22. Nadia Urbinati, ‘Representation as Advocacy: A Study of Democratic Deliberation’, Political Theory 28, 6, 2000, 758–786.

23. Sofia Näsström,’Democratic Representation beyond Election’, Constellations 22, 1, 2015, 1-12.

24. Laura Montanaro, ‘The Democratic Legitimacy of Self-Appointed Representatives’, Journal of Politics 74, 4, 2012, 1094-1107.

25. Mark E. Warren, ‘Citizen Representatives’, in J. H. Nagel and R. M. Smith (eds), Representation. Elections and Beyond (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), pp. 269-294.

26. D. Apter, ‘g’, Nomos X, Chapter 19, 1968, 278–317.

27. Michael Saward, ‘Shape-shifting Representation’, American Political Science Review, 108, 4, 2014, 723-736.

28. Nadia Urbinati and Mark E. Warren,’ The Concept of Representation in Contemporary Democratic Theory’, Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 2008, 387-412.

29. Mark Warren and Dario Castiglione, ‘The Transformation of Democratic Representation’, Democracy and Society 2, 1, 2004, 20-22.


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The Library of Contemporary Essays in Governance and Political Theory

The Library of Contemporary Essays in Governance and Political Theory

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