Claims-Making as Political Representation

Political claims-making can be seen as a form of political representation. It lacks the formal authorization of electoral representation, but can fulfil the functions of substantive representation of groups. This is particularly the case for groups that may otherwise be absent or under-represented in electoral politics. Following work by Michael Saward and to some extent Andrew Rehfeld, Laura Montanaro has established that such non-elected representation can indeed be legitimate. More recently, Pieter de Wilde has put together a nice summary how the claims-making perspective is well suited for approaching claims as political representation. In my view, we have to focus on claims that are positive to really speak of political representation, especially if we are concerned with substantive representation.

Montanaro, Laura. 2012. “The Democratic Legitimacy of Self-Appointed Representatives.” The Journal of Politics 74 (4): 1094–1107. doi:10.1017/S0022381612000515.

Rehfeld, A. 2006. “Towards a general theory of political representation.” Journal of Politics 68 (1): 1–21.

Saward, M. 2006. “The Representative Claim.” Contemporary Political Theory 5 (3): 297–318. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300234.

De Wilde, Pieter. 2013. “Representative claims analysis: theory meets method.” Journal of European Public Policy 20 (2): 278–294.

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