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Systemic representation: The democratic legitimacy of self-appointed representatives

Jonathan Kuyper, Stockholm University

Tue 15 July 2014

11:00am – 12:00pm

Fishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


Deliberative democracy has taken a systemic turn. Underlying this research agenda is the core idea that democratic deliberation is, and should be, dispersed throughout an interconnected system. Because no single institution can perfectly uphold deliberative ideals, we should take a holistic view and seek to understand how a variety of sites operate in conjunction with one another. In this article I probe how different types of representatives fit within a deliberative system. The core argument is that representatives can act democratically in very different ways depending upon their role within a wider system. I employ this argument to evaluate the democratic legitimacy of 'self-appointed representatives’. Drawing upon Dryzek's notion of deliberative capacity, I argue that self-appointed representatives should be assessed by whether they have a role in the empowered space within a system or rather act as part of the transmission belt from the public space.

About the speaker

Jonathan Kuyper is a postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University working on the Transaccess research project (headed by Professor Jonas Tallberg). He completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 2012, during which time he was a visiting student at the European University Institute and Princeton University. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Global Constitutionalism, Journal of Public Deliberation, European Journal of International Relations, Ethics and Global Politics and other outlets.

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