Remainders and opportunities: recent theories of political representation

Michael Saward

in The Representative Claim

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579389
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722950 | DOI:
Remainders and opportunities: recent theories of political representation

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This chapter offers a focused critique of classic and contemporary accounts of political representation, notably those of Pitkin, Mansbridge and Rehfeld. The purpose of this critique is to highlight both the advances these and other writers have made and the work that remains to be done (and why it matters). Within that frame, it establishes the need to focus more on what representation does (as opposed to fixing our ideas of what it is); how representative claims pay a constitutive role; why interpretive depth is more important, in the first instance, than normative bite; how we need to downplay typologies and highlight dynamics (‘what is going on’ in representation); why non‐electoral modes of representation need to be taken seriously; and why national state representation should not be the overwhelming focus of studies of representation.

Keywords: political representation; normative theory; non‐electoral representation; contructivism; Hanna Pitkin

Chapter.  10548 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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