: Rousseau's Unrepresentable Sovereign

in Representative Democracy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780226842783
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226842806 | DOI:
: Rousseau's Unrepresentable Sovereign

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This chapter discusses the objections to representation, which the theory of representative government has traditionally relied upon. The main theme here is a critical analysis of Rousseau's conceptions of sovereignty and representation. Rousseau denied representation a political role and confined it rigorously to a private relation of delegation. The point is that a decisionist sovereign is not necessarily democratic; and the people's unmediated presence in the assembly does not necessarily prefigure a truly participatory polis.

Keywords: representation; representative government; sovereignty; delegation; participatory polis

Chapter.  17532 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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