Democratic expectations: the representation account

Darren Halpin

in Groups, Representation and Democracy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780719076527
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701690 | DOI:
Democratic expectations: the representation account

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This chapter scrutinizes the dominant lens through which the democratic expectations of groups are viewed. It argues that group scholars have implicitly, but sometimes explicitly, viewed groups as though they were all engaged in democratic representation. In turn, this has informed expectations that groups should be democratically accountable to their affiliates. Where group practices have not conformed to this picture, this is read as a group deficiency. The orthodox frameworks and lenses used to appraise groups have supported a rather pessimistic view of the potential for groups to be agents of democracy, because they do not practise it themselves. The chapter reviews a range of arguments that seek to weaken or outright challenge this representation account. It concludes that group theory is poorly served by an insistence on a relatively constrained account of representation.

Keywords: democratic expectations; group scholars; democratic representation; group theory; democracy; representation

Chapter.  9627 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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