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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

The Construction of Representative Claims for Denizens

Normative Theory
Benjamin Boudou
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
Benjamin Boudou
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Representation is generally limited to a relation between a bounded and generally national constituency and elected representatives. The political and social condition of denizens question however these limitations. Some people are heavily affected by decisions made by national representatives, while having no say and no occasion to express their voice. This gap between decision-makers and affected individuals creates a lack of democratic legitimacy, usually solved theoretically by a defense of enfranchisement justified by the on the all-affected interests principle.

However, migrants are affected too while not necessarily being resident, and the all-affected interests principle logically leads to a global demos. Thus, I argue that representation is the best proxy for including interests otherwise absent from deliberation and decision. Following Saward (2010), I explore how multi-faceted representative claims are constructed for denizens. Through various events (mobilizations), discourses (migrant and pro-migrant activists and theorists), or policies (local citizenship, sanctuary practices), I explore a process of constructing both a claim to have interests in need of representation and a claim to represent interests of foreigners that are otherwise invisible.

Decoupling representation from membership and territoriality is a good way to incrementally institutionalize the all-affected interests principle, by making visible and voicing the interests of individuals excluded of normal parliamentary representation. This implies however revising what we commonly understand by constituency and representation, expanding their scope and revising their criteria of accountability.
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