Comparative European Politics

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 87–103 | Cite as

Contested Meanings of Representation

  • Johannes Pollak
Original Article


The article deals with the question how the process of constitutionalization can be organized and argues that it needs to be structured via representative politics. By looking into the history of the concept of representation, it becomes clear that one of the pillars of democracy is notoriously underspecified and theoretically overloaded. Who represents what by which means is a question, which was answered in a historically contingent way. An analysis of the different answers is necessary in order to arrive at an analytical grid to study the representative quality of polities comprising various functions as well as modes of representation. Finally, the European Union's democratic quality is analysed and described to be heavily affected by colliding modes of representation.


representation political theory democracy European Union 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Pollak
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for European Integration Research, Austrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria

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