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The Constructivist Turn in Political Representation$
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Lisa Disch, Mathijs van de Sande, and Nadia Urbinati

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442602

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442602.001.0001

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Introduction: the end of representative politics?

Introduction: the end of representative politics?

(p.1) 1 Introduction: the end of representative politics?
The Constructivist Turn in Political Representation

Lisa Disch

Edinburgh University Press

What should political theorists make of M15 and the Occupy movements? Of the rise of alternative parties such as Podemos and Syriza? And support for alternatives to parties such as the Five Star Movement and the Pirate Party movement? These insurgencies are not motivated simply by economic circumstances but are unique for giving voice to a new and distinctively democratic citizen anger directed at the limits of representative politics. Some herald this activity as the “end of representative politics.” We argue that it is a protest against just one version—mandate representation—that is elitist in its conception and practice. Similar to this activism in the street, the “constructivist turn” in political theory also pushes against the limits and rejects the elitism of mandate representation. Its proponents argue that representatives can and should do more than speak for constituencies of voters: they revitalize democracy by sparking new political subjects into action—both within and beyond the confines of parliamentary politics.

Keywords:   Constructivist Turn, Mandate Representation, Citizen anger, Alternative parties

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