Systemic Representation: Democracy, Deliberation, and Nonelectoral Representatives

Jonathan W. Kuyper, Stockholm University

Jonathan KuyperAbstract: “This article explores the relationship between non-electoral representatives and democratic legitimacy by combining the recent constructivist turn in political representation with systemic work in deliberative theory. Two core arguments are advanced. First, non-electoral representatives should be judged by their position in a wider democratic system. Second, deliberative democracy offers a productive toolkit by which to evaluate these agents. I develop a framework of systemic representation which depicts the elemental parts of a democratic system and assigns normative standards according to the space occupied. The framework gives priority of democratic analysis to the systemic level. This helps mitigate a central concern in the constructivist turn which suggests that representatives mobilize constituencies in ways that are susceptible to framing and manipulation. I engage in case-study analysis of the collapsed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to unpack the different spaces occupied by non-electoral representative and elucidate the varied democratic demands that hinge on this positioning.”

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American Political Science Review is political science’s premier scholarly research journal, providing peer-reviewed articles and review essays from subfields throughout the discipline. Areas covered include political theory, American politics, public policy, public administration, comparative politics, and international relations. APSR has published continuously since 1906.