The Metamorphoses of Representative Government

Bernard Manin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper argues that contemporary developments in democratic politics mark the emergence of a new type of representative government. Current trends such as the weakening of party identification, the decline of political platformsor the increasing role of an elite of media experts may be regarded as undermining the principle of popular government. The paper demonstrates, however, that representative government was not invented as an indirect form of government by the people, but as a wholly original political system resting on principles different from those which organize democracy.Moreover, a number of institutional arrangements were established at the origins of representative government which havebeen virtually unquestioned since. Political representation has changed much less than is generally assumed. It is true, on the other hand, that the constant principles of representative government have had different consequences depending on the circumstances in which they were implemented. Such differences have generated various forms of political representation. The paper constructs three ideal-types of representative government. It shows that the current situation is best conceived as the rise of a new type of representation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)133-171
    Number of pages39
    JournalEconomy and Society
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - May 1 1994

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • General Social Sciences


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