For at least two centuries, democratic representation has been at the center of debate. Should elected representatives express the views of the majority, or do they have the discretion to interpret their constituents’ interests? How can representatives balance the desires of their parties and their electors? What should be done to strengthen the representation of groups that have been excluded from the political system? Representative democracy itself remains frequently contested, regarded as incapable of reflecting the will of the masses, or inadequate for today’s global governance. Recently, however, this view of democratic representation has been under attack for its failure to capture the performative and constructive elements of the process of representation, and a new literature more attentive to these aspects of the relationship between representatives and the represented has arisen. In Creating Political Presence, a diverse and international group of scholars explores the implications of such a turn. Two broad, overlapping perspectives emerge. 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.
Provides a ground-breaking contribution to the widespread and controversial debate about how disadvantaged groups should be represented in politics. - ;One of the most hotly-debated debates in contemporary democracy revolves around issues of political presence, and whether the fair representation of disadvantage groups requires their presence in elected assemblies. Representation as currently understood derives its legitimacy from a politics of ideas, which considers accountability in relation to declared policies and programmes, and makes it a matter of relative indifference who articulates political preferences or beliefs. What happens to the meaning of representation and accountability when we make the gender or ethnic composition of elected assemblies an additional area of concern? In this innovative contribution to the theory of representation - which draws on debates about gender quotas in Europe, minority voting rights in the USA, and the multi-layered politics of inclusion in Canada - Anne Phillips argues that the politics of ideas is an inadequate vehicle for dealing with political exclusion. But eschewing any essentialist grounding the group identity or group interest, she also argues against any either/or choice between ideas and political presence. The politics of presence then combines with contemporary explorations of deliberative democracy to establish a different balance between accountability and autonomy. -
This book aims to fill a gap in research on women's political representation by developing a multidimensional assessment of female participation in subnational legislatures in a federal political system like Mexico. The Mexican experience in terms of women's political representation at the federal and subnational levels has been very successful, as the reforms created a more robust "gender electoral regime" that promoted an increase in the number of elected female legislators (1987-2021). Still, little is known about the impact of the rise in women's presence in Congresses on other dimensions of political representation, such as symbolic or substantive. Although previous studies on women's political representation in Mexico have yielded exciting conclusions based on empirical evidence and strengthened a theory focused on the analysis of presence, it is still insufficient to explain the other dimensions of representation and the relationship between them. Therefore, this book contributes to the comparative scholarship from the perspective of feminist neo-institutionalism, expanding the understanding of the relationship between women's formal and descriptive representation, the content of legislative work in terms of preferences and interests (substantive representation), and its symbolic effects on women and politics in general (symbolic representation). Women in Mexican Subnational Legislatures: From Descriptive to Substantive Representation will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, and jurists interested in gender and politics. The book fills a theoretical and empirical gap on the effects of gender parity in the programmatic and symbolic scope of power building. The findings on good practices and challenges are discussed within a broader body of comparative research, providing knowledge to academia, policymakers, and international cooperation agencies about the remaining obstacles to strengthening Latin American democracies and the need to continue exploring the links between subnational politics and democratization of federal political systems.
It is usually held that representative government is not strictly democratic, since it does not allow the people themselves to directly make decisions. But here, taking as her guide Thomas Paine’s subversive view that “Athens, by representation, would have surpassed her own democracy,” Nadia Urbinati challenges this accepted wisdom, arguing that political representation deserves to be regarded as a fully legitimate mode of democratic decision making—and not just a pragmatic second choice when direct democracy is not possible. As Urbinati shows, the idea that representation is incompatible with democracy stems from our modern concept of sovereignty, which identifies politics with a decision maker’s direct physical presence and the immediate act of the will. She goes on to contend that a democratic theory of representation can and should go beyond these identifications. Political representation, she demonstrates, is ultimately grounded in a continuum of influence and power created by political judgment, as well as the way presence through ideas and speech links society with representative institutions. Deftly integrating the ideas of such thinkers as Rousseau, Kant, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, Paine, and the Marquis de Condorcet with her own, Urbinati constructs a thought-provoking alternative vision of democracy.
This book investigates ‘capitalism and freedom’—the guiding forces of many political systems—in African philosophy. It builds on classical and neoliberal capitalism rooted in private property and freedom, and argues for the presence of these elements in the traditional and modern African political systems. The author argues that while these elements are partly imported from Western capitalists, they are equally traceable in African traditional political systems. Kayange argues that African politics is marred by a conflict between embracing capitalism and freedom (individualism), on the one hand, and socialism founded on African communitarianism and communist ideas, on the other. This conflict has affected policy development and implementation, and has significantly contributed towards the socio-economic and ethical crises that are recurrent in most of the African countries.
Eight years after the second Palestinian uprising, the Oslo accords signed in 1993 seem to have failed. This book explores one of the major aspects of the bilateral peace process - the composition and behaviour of the Palestinian negotiating team, which deeply impacted the outcome of the negotiations between 1991 and 1997.
One of the horrors of the capitalist system is that slave labor, which was central to the formation and growth of capitalism itself, is still fully able to coexist alongside wage labor. But, as Karl Marx points out, it is the fact of being paid for one's work that validates capitalism as a viable socio-economic structure. Beneath this veil of “free commerce” – where workers are paid only for a portion of their workday, and buyers and sellers in the marketplace face each other as “equals” – lies a foundation of immense inequality. Yet workers have always rebelled. They've organized unions, struck, picketed, boycotted, formed political organizations and parties – sometimes they have actually won and improved their lives. But, Marx argued, because capitalism is the apotheosis of class society, it must be the last class society: it must, therefore, be destroyed. And only the working class, said Marx, is capable of creating that change. In his timely and innovative book, Michael D. Yates asks if the working class can, indeed, change the world. Deftly factoring in such contemporary elements as sharp changes in the rise of identity politics and the nature of work, itself, Yates asks if there can, in fact, be a thing called the working class? If so, how might it overcome inherent divisions of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, location – to become a cohesive and radical force for change? Forcefully and without illusions, Yates supports his arguments with relevant, clearly explained data, historical examples, and his own personal experiences. This book is a sophisticated and prescient understanding of the working class, and what all of us might do to change the world.
This book departs from the attempt by political theory to confront the challenges of political life with new concepts, offering instead a mode of thought so far excluded from the canon of political theory: the philosophy of presence. Making the experience of liminality the very centre of thought, it shows how embracing ‘in-betweenness’ allows us to discern the limits of both the political order and contemporary political theory. Through an examination of the works of Gustav Landauer, Eric Voegelin, Simone Weil and Václav Havel, the author demonstrates the manner in which ‘in-betweenness’ may be cultivated by way of the philosophy of presence as a method of self-enquiry into existence as it is experienced subjectively. Arguing that since externalisation is the essence of politics and that the way to a more just society lies inwards, through a confrontation with liminality, this study of how to read philosophers of presence renders their work intelligible to the contemporary discourse of crisis and will appeal to scholars of social, political and anthropological theory and philosophy.
Representation is integral to the functioning and legitimacy of modern government. Yet political theorists have often been reluctant to engage directly with questions of representation, and empirical political scientists have closed down such questions by making representation synonymous with congruence. Conceptually unproblematic and normatively inert for some, representation has been deemed impossible to pin down analytically and to defend normatively by others. But this is changing. Political theorists are now turning to political representation as a subject worthy of theoretical investigation in its own right. In their effort to rework the theory of political representation, they are also hoping to impact how representation is assessed and studied empirically. This volume gathers together chapters by key contributors to what amounts to a "representative turn" in political theory. Their approaches and emphases are diverse, but taken together they represent a compelling and original attempt at re-conceptualizing political representation and critically assessing the main theoretical and political implications following from this, namely for how we conceive and assess representative democracy. Each contributor is invited to look back and ahead on the transformations to democratic self-government introduced by the theory and practice of political representation. Representation and democracy: outright conflict, uneasy cohabitation, or reciprocal constitutiveness? For those who think democracy would be better without representation, this volume is a must-read: it will question their assumptions, while also exploring some of the reasons for their discomfort. Reclaiming Representation is essential reading for scholars and graduate researchers committed to staying on top of new developments in the field.
For refugees and immigrants in the United States, expressions of citizenship and belonging emerge not only during the naturalization process but also during more informal, everyday activities in the community. Based on research in the Dallas–Arlington–Fort Worth area of Texas, this book examines the sociocultural spaces in which Vietnamese and Indian immigrants are engaging with the wider civic sphere. As Civic Engagements reveals, religious and ethnic organizations provide arenas in which immigrants develop their own ways of being and becoming "American." Skills honed at a meeting, festival, or banquet have resounding implications for the future political potential of these immigrant populations, both locally and nationally. Employing Lave and Wenger's concept of "communities of practice" as a framework, this book emphasizes the variety of processes by which new citizens acquire the civic and leadership skills that help them to move from peripheral positions to more central roles in American society.