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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

C2G2: Dr Laura Montanaro - Democratic Representation and the Principle of Affected Interests Event

12:00 - 14:00
4 May 2016
58/4121 - Highfield Campus, University of Southampton

Event details

We are pleased to welcome Dr Laura Montanaro from the University of Essex who will give a paper on democratic representation and the principle of affected interests. Lunch will be provided and all are welcome.


The affected interests principle is regularly included in conversations about democracy and its legitimate boundaries. The principle suggests that people should be able to influence the decisions that affect them—this is normatively intuitive and yet vague and imprecise. I argue that “affected interests” should be viewed not as a principle, but as a practice of representation. Representatives enact “affected interests” through their claims, and in so doing, potentially provide opportunities for the people to accept or reject claims of affectedness made on their behalf. Whereas existing literatures often assume that a people both knows its interests and pre-exists representation in some institutionally configured form, I argue that a claim of representation provides an opportunity for people to understand themselves as affected by a good or issue, and perhaps bring new, affected, constituencies into being that did not exist prior to the representative act. To put a finer point on it, representation can transform a latent constituency into a self-conscious and effective one.

Speaker information

Dr Laura Montanaro,University of Essex,Lecturer

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