The End of Representative Politics, Revisited

in Democratic Theory
Simon Tormey The University of Sydney

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Jean-Paul Gagnon The University of Sydney

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In reinterrogating core concepts from his 2015 book, The End of Representative Politics, Simon Tormey explains the nature of emergent, evanescent, and contrarian forms of political practice. He sheds light on what is driving the political disruption transpiring now through a series of engaging comments from the field on well-known initiatives like Occupy, #15M, and Zapatistas and also lesser-known experiments such as the creation of new political parties like Castelló en Moviment, among others. Postrepresentative representation, it is argued, is not an oxymoron; it, like the term antipolitical politics, is rather a provocative concept designed to capture the radically new swarming politics underway in countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Iceland. Citizens are tooling up with ICTs, and this has led to resonant political movements like #15M in Spain or Occupy more broadly. Key takeaways from this interview include the double-edged nature of representation and the fact that new forms of political representation are breaking the mould.

Contributor Notes

Simon Tormey is currently head of the School of Social and Political Sciences. Prior to his appointment at Sydney in 2009 he was professor and head of the School of Politics and International Relations and founding director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at the University of Nottingham UK. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Making Sense of Tyranny: Interpretations of Totalitarianism (Manchester University Press, 1995), Anti-Capitalism (Oxford: Oneworld, 2004, revised edition 2013), The End of Representative Politics (Cambridge: Polity, 2015), and The Refiguring of Democracy (London: Routledge, 2017). E-mail:

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