array(2) { [0]=> string(4) "toto" [1]=> string(4) "titi"} 2016-2019 | CLAIMS - (New) Political Representative Claims: A Global View

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2016-2019 | CLAIMS - (New) Political Representative Claims: A Global View

A new research program will start at the CEIAS in the spring of 2016, entitled “(New) Political Representative Claims: A Global View (France, Germany, Brazil, India, China)” (CLAIMS). This collective enterprise will be funded by a Franco-German program, the ANR-DFG, for 3 years (2016-2019).


Coordinators :

Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal (CNRS) ;  Yves Sintomer (Paris 8 University) ; Brigitte Geissel (Goethe University Frankfurt) ; Thomas Heberer (Duisburg-Essen University). 


The project builds on collective reflection on the new forms and meanings of political representation that can be observed worldwide, a thought process that was undertaken through a three year research seminar organized by Sintomer, Dutoya, Frenkiel, Hayat and myself as part of the Association Française de Science Politique from 2012 to 2015, and then again through a seminar that we coordinated together at EHESS this year. It manifests a clear ambition to conduct research that is both empirical and theoretical at the same time through a comparative perspective that makes “area studies” central in the development of democratic theory.


The starting point of the project is the observation that Europe is currently experiencing a crisis with regard to established forms of political representation, visible for example in  increasing political distrust; indeed various claims to renew political representation are emerging, not only in Europe but all over the world. Yet most contemporary research on representation focuses on electoral/mandate representation within a single country; moreover dynamics developing in the Global South, including non-democratic entities, are neglected by Western scholars. As a result, we lack comparative, global analyses of (new) “representative claims” (Saward) developed outside the representative political system. Our research intends to address these gaps by putting into perspective representative claims in France and Germany—two European democracies actively experimenting with new concepts of representation—and in three BRICS states: India—the world’s largest democracy and a pioneer in electoral quotas (as a claim for descriptive representation)—, Brazil—the largest democracy in Latin America with innovative participatory devices including competing representative claims—, and China—a non-democratic regime engaged in a huge transformation with specific representative claims.


Building on German and French political theory, our conceptual framework departs from standard ways of considering political representation. We argue that while mandate representation remains important, it fails to account for crucial contemporary developments. Our premise is that political representation is increasingly related to the (re)emergence of representative claims, i.e. situations in which an actor claims to speak/act in the name of others. Such claims are most often based on the denunciation of misrepresentation, which they profess to correct.


In the five countries under scrutiny, we will identify different situations in which (seemingly) new representative claims are raised, criticized or justified. Our research will focus on two main research fields. We will analyze: (i) representative claims at the national level (national parliaments and media) raised during three national debates in each country; (ii) representative claims raised in two participatory devices at the subnational level in each country.


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