On Political Representation: Myths and Challenges
AbstractIn this paper we critically reassess the standard account of political representation, in order to question the mythical foundation of its premises and explain why it can no longer serve as an adequate explanatory framework in the modern political context. We argue that representation was not invented as a second-best solution, that the represented are not always a collective of individuals, that there is an indirect rather than direct link between the represented and the representatives, that representatives can be legitimately chosen by methods other than elections and, finally, that good representation cannot be reduced to responsiveness. Despite the inconsistencies of different theories of representation, the standard account survived long enough for reasons we explain in this paper. The consolidation of the EU as a supranational political arena and the burgeoning activity of transnational actors resulted in a multiplication of structures and opportunities for political representation which seriously challenges the effectiveness and suitability of the standard representation model. Growing complexity, diminishing transparency and the prospect of competing representative claims from concurrent majorities create a volatile dynamic for the future of democracy at both national and EU level.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by RECON in its series RECON Online Working Papers Series with number 3.
Date of creation: 15 May 2009
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Web page: http://www.reconproject.eu
accountability; democracy; democratization; legitimacy; multilevel governance; political representation; supranationalism;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-05-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2009-05-23 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2009-05-23 (Positive Political Economics)
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