Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Democratic FailureNOMOS LXIII$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Melissa Schwartzberg and Daniel Viehoff

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479804788

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479804788.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

Representation Failure

Representation Failure

Chapter:
(p.101) 4 Representation Failure
Source:
Democratic Failure
Author(s):

Jane Mansbridge

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479804788.003.0005

Democracy has failure built into its DNA. The ideals of which it is composed are almost all aspirational, meaning that they cannot be met fully, partly because their full pursuit would conflict with other ideals in the package we mean when we ask what ought to be entailed when the people rule. The obligation involved in pursuing these ideals is therefore not to meet them, but to strive toward them, recognizing the impossibility of their full attainment and making the best accommodations one can to the conflicts with other ideals that arise in the process of that striving. In this process, pursuing the most direct path to the ideal may allow one to capture less of what is important about its meaning than letting the ideal inform democratic practices indirectly. Representation, for example, is on its face antithetical to the democratic ideal of giving a law to oneself. Yet without adopting direct democracy it is possible to capture the shards, threads, and intimations of the ideal of autonomy in certain practices of representation in the elected, administrative, and societal realms. Those practices include “recursive representation,” or mutually responsive, communication between constituent and representative, itself an aspirational ideal.

Keywords:   aspirational ideal, autonomy, direct democracy, recursive representation, mutually responsive, listening, shards

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.