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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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Rethinking democratic representation: eight theoretical issues and a postscript1

Rethinking democratic representation: eight theoretical issues and a postscript1

(p.21) 2 Rethinking democratic representation: eight theoretical issues and a postscript1
The Constructivist Turn in Political Representation

Dario Castiglione

Mark E. Warren

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter offers here a sketch of eight theoretical issues that are fundamental to rethinking the problems and potentials of political representation under emerging conditions. The issues include: (1) the relational character of representation; (2) the role that trusteeship plays in forms of democratic representation; (3) an assessment of representation in terms of both input and output; (4) representation considered as a political practice; (5) the way in which representation is constituted by and within political processes; (6) the objects of representation: who and what are represented; (7) the question of who is a democratic representative; and (8) the relationship between authorization and accountability in informal representation. In each of these dimensions the theory of representation in democracies needs refurbishing, a task that requires returning to the concept of representation in a more systematic way, also taking on board theoretical intuitions from deliberative, participatory and radical populist conceptions of democracy. The postscript takes stock of some of these developments and suggests that rethinking political representation is part of the pressing task to reconsider democracy in the 21st century.

Keywords:   Political representation, Trusteeship, Authorization, Accountability, Informal representation

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