The Organizational Foundations of Democratic Representation

Kristin Kanthak

in The Diversity Paradox

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199891726
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933433 | DOI:
The Organizational Foundations of Democratic Representation

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This chapter concludes the book and provides some closing thoughts. The chapter explains how the results in the book indicate that the link between descriptive and substantive representation may not be as close as some presume. Furthermore, the chapter argues that the goal of those wishing to increase the substantive representation of minority groups ought not to focus solely on reaching some “critical mass,” a proportion of minority group members above which the concerns of the minority will have voice. Critical mass is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for minority group representation, because proper mechanisms for encouraging coordination are also necessary. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how minority groups are at least partially responsible for the construction of their own glass ceiling, which will be dismantled only when they achieve both sufficient numbers and a working solution to their coordination problem.

Keywords: Representation; descriptive representation; substantive representation; critical mass; coordination problems; minority group representation; glass ceiling

Chapter.  7629 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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