Creating Political PresenceThe New Politics of Democratic Representation

Creating Political PresenceThe New Politics of Democratic Representation

Dario Castiglione and Johannes Pollak

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226588360

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


For at least two centuries, democratic representation and how it should work has been at the center of many disputes. Representative democracy itself, though arguably the dominant political form of constitutional states, remains a frequent focus of contestation, regarded as incapable of reflecting the will of the masses, or inadequate in today’s global governance. This view of democratic representation, based on a reflective and responsive mode, has lately been under attack for its failure to capture the performative and constructive elements of the process of representation. By contrast, the new literature is more attentive to the dynamic and mutually constructive aspects of the relationship between represented and representatives. In this book, a group of international scholars explores the implications of such a turn and the sense in which democratic representation needs the creation of political presence, as discussed in the opening essay. Two broad, overlapping perspectives emerge in the rest of the book. In the first section, the contributions investigate how political representation relates to empowerment, either facilitating or interfering with the capacity of citizens to develop autonomous judgment in collective decision making. Contributions in the second section look at representation from the perspective of inclusion, focusing on how representative relationships and claims articulate the demands of those who are excluded or have no voice. The final section examines political representation from a more systemic perspective, exploring its broader environmental conditions and the way it acquires democratic legitimacy.