Alfio Mastropaolo

The acrobatics of representation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Collective Bodies; Crisis; Mass Media; Political Parties; Representation.

The idea that political representation consists of a mandate given by a multitude of principals to an individual or collective agent is sociologically unreliable. Michel Saward recently suggested that representation is the result of a «claim» by someone to represent someone else. Pierre Bourdieu had previously treated representation as an activity of constitution of a collective body by those claiming to represent it. This construction activity can be conducted in many different ways. The notables used to mobilize local constituencies. Political parties used to constitute long-lasting relations between the represented and the representatives. The mass media make it much easier to set up relations «use and throw». Therefore, considering that political representation changes over time, there are few reasons to label the current crisis of conventional political parties as a crisis of representation.

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