The Modernity of Political Representation

Its Innovative Thrust and Transnational Semantic Transfers during the Sattelzeit (Eighteenth to Nineteenth Centuries)

in Contributions to the History of Concepts

Representation is a major and multifaceted concept of modern politics. Through open and regular elections, it shields the democratic character of representative governments, compelling politicians to pursue the interests of their constituencies and become responsive to their demands. But since the concept of representation is so embedded in the day-to-day workings of democratic regimes, it has largely lost significant traces of its history that shed light on its political dawn. The instrumentalization of the concept by representative governments in order to assess their democratic legitimacy obfuscates its seminal ambiguities and the history of conflicts about its meaning and institutional functions.

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