Miguel Vatter

Devices of representation and the power of the people in Rawls and in civic republicanism

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Keywords: theory of representation, power of the people, John Rawls, civic republicanism

This article addresses Rawls's complex account of political representation in his political liberalism. This account has been criticized by proponents of deliberative democracy for not reflecting adequately the dialogical and intersubjective processes of democratic will-formation that are essential to achieve the ends of a theory of justice in a pluralist society. The Author argues that this criticism is misguided because it misses Rawls's adoption of a republican, rather than a liberal conception of political representation. Additionally, the common assumption that Rawls's political liberalism suffers from a democratic deficit fails to give proper consideration to his account of the power of the people and its function in a well-ordered society. The Author ends that such an account of popular power in Rawls also draws primarily from the tradition of modern republi¬can thought, in particular from Kant's republicanism.

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