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The Renewal of the Representative Link: Insights from Political Theory

Citizenship
Political Participation
Political Theory
Representation
Elena García-Guitián
Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC
Elena García-Guitián
Universidad Autònoma de Madrid – Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos del CSIC
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Abstract

The increasing amount of literature on the theory of representation is a good example of the renewed interest on the subject. Nevertheless, such theoretical debates are having little impact on those involved in controversies that are taking place on the public sphere. Academics, journalists and the public they all assume as a far-reaching goal the implementation of the agency model, .linking it with a vague wish of more citizen participation However, representation understood as an individual relation between representatives and those represented, designed to promote some previously fixed interest of the represented, only generates false expectations.. As the political theory approach shows, it constitutes a complex relation that has to be analyzed taking in account its several dimensions (Pitkin, 1967) There is a common agreement in the need to modify the role political parties play on it, the interaction with citizens during the mandates and the introduction of new forms of accountability, others than elections, plus an expectation that the introduction of new deliberative procedures or the improvement of the existing ones is part of the solution (Saward, 2010; Urbinati and Warren, 2008). The aim of this paper is to discuss the linkage between the nascent citizens’ expectations and demands (responsiveness, accountability, citizens participation), and the limits and scope of the various models of political representation. In so doing, my aim is to provide a unified normative scheme for the analysis of such a complex issue