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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 April 2021

Democracy and representation

Democracy and representation

(p.104) 7 Democracy and representation
The Constructivist Turn in Political Representation

Claude Lefort

, Greg Conti
Edinburgh University Press

This chapter presents the first English translation of an essay that was originally presented in 1989 by Claude Lefort at the Colloquium on Latin America, sponsored by the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), organized by Daniel Pécault. In this essay, Lefort affirms his important thesis regarding the disembodiment of power in representative democracy and begins to elaborate institutional conditions for its modern practice. He emphasizes that representation must be supported by independent political organizing by social movements and dissenting groups within institutions such as labor unions, schools, and hospitals. He also emphasizes the importance of participation, understood distinctively neither as voting nor as taking to the streets but as a feature of political judgment that he terms a “capacity to understand the political game,” a feature that he considers to be lacking where there exist great divides between elite political actors as mass publics.

Keywords:   Claude Lefort, Representative democracy, Social movements, Political participation, Political judgment

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