Representation, legitimacy, and democracy

Michael Saward

in The Representative Claim

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579389
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722950 | DOI:
Representation, legitimacy, and democracy

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This concluding chapter reviews key points and steps back to consider what these new approaches and arguments, built around the claim‐based approach to representation, might mean for democratic representation and ‘representative democracy’. The issue of how observers might judge the democratic character of representative claims is examined, not by offering an independent theory of legitimacy but by exploring the conditions under which certain constituencies and audiences may evaluate claims. The important distinctions between intended and actual audiences, and intended and actual constituencies, are used to define and defend the idea of an appropriate constituency for the democratic judgement of representative claims. The chapter further highlights ways in which received wisdom about representative democracy need to be revised, including assumptions about the contrasting nature of direct and representative democracy, and the importance of political representation outside as well as within the state.

Keywords: the representative claim; representative democracy; direct democracy; constituency; normative political theory; political evaluation

Chapter.  11682 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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