October 2008, Polity
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These are just some of the questions which will be answered by David Runciman and Mónica Brito Vieira as they explain why representation should be understood as one of the key concepts in modern politics. The first part of the book examines the historical roots of the concept of representation, from its origins in ancient Rome through to its role in the revolutionary politics of the modern world. The second looks at different varieties of representation – in law as well as politics. The final part asks how the concept of representation can help us think creatively about current and future challenges facing the world.
Representation is too often treated as a secondary or qualifying idea – as in the phrase ‘representative democracy’. This book argues that we have this the wrong way round. Representation is the foundational idea in almost all areas of our political life. Making sense of representation in its own terms is crucial for seeing why democracy functions the way it does, and for exploring how it might function differently.