The representation of the preferences of citizens lies at the heart of politics. It comes with no surprise that our understanding of democracy usually incorporates the concept of representative democracy. Here, citizens can influence politics by voting for political representatives or political parties. Through regular elections, citizens are able to reward or punish their representatives for keeping or breaking their promises. In this seminar, we will take a closer look at different forms of representation. We will start with a definition of representation and other important concepts in this strand of research. We will continue by distinguishing between different types of representation. For example, how can we ensure the representation of minorities and how does representation differ in different electoral systems? The second part of this seminar is devoted to the study of actual representation. If parties are able to fulfil the pledges they made during the electoral campaign, they are able to represent the preferences of their voters. But what influences pledge fulfilment? And how can we explain the puzzling finding that voters think that parties do not keep their promises even though research has found that pledge fulfilment is quite high? The course provides the students with the knowledge of the relevant theories of political representation and introduces methodological challenges in the field. The aim of the course is to support the students to develop and answer a research question of their own in the area of political representation. Knowledge of statistical analysis is helpful for students taking part in this course.
Pitkin, Hanna F. (1967): The Concept of Representation, University of California Press: Berkeley.
Manin, Bernard (1997): The Principles of Representative Government, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Przeworski, Adam, Stokes, Susan C. and Bernard Manin (1999): Democracy, Accountability,and Representation, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.