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SPP 473

Author: Johannes Pollak
Description: This paper critically reassesses the standard account of political representation, in order to question its premises and explain why it is no longer adequate. Representation was not invented as a second-best solution. The represented are not always a collective; there is an indirect rather than direct link between the represented and the representatives. Moreover, representatives can be legitimately chosen by methods other than elections and, finally, good representation cannot be reduced to responsiveness. The consolidation of the EU as a supranational political arena and the burgeoning activity of transnational actors has multiplied structures and opportunities for political representation which seriously challenge 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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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland