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Democratic Representation in a Denationalized World: A Liberal-Agonistic Perspective


March 23, 2016
12:15pm - 1:45pm
Dining Room, Busch Hall
March 23, 2016
12:15pm - 1:45pm
Dining Room, Busch Hall

This presentation will discuss a liberal-agonistic argument about democratic representation in times, when the classic, nation-based model of representative democracy is increasingly compromised by international interdependencies.

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Based on an understanding of representation as a communicative and interactive practice through claims-making, de Wilde argues that claims in public to represent a certain constituency by elected as well as non-elected actors, can contribute to continuous revitalization of democratic legitimacy, as long as two conditions are met. At the individual level of a claim, the democratic credentials of a representative act depend on whether the representative provides explicit information to citizens that allows them to hold authorities to account for policies, articulates an idea of constituency, specifies the value or goal ultimately to be realized by the demand and makes clear which opposing forces are at play on the issue at hand. At the aggregate level of a public debate, democracy is served as long as no constituency is left unclaimed and no representative monopolizes a constituency, so that citizens have a choice as representatives compete for their support. This liberal-agonistic model of democratic representation promises to shed new light on the extent to which public debates in the age of globalization support democracy and the kind of representatives, issues and contexts that contribute the most to the revitalization of democratic politics.

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