Handbook on Theories of Governance
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Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.
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Chapter 13: Representation

Lucy Taylor


While more agencies than ever before have a say in policy-making and administration, most join these political conversations without having been elected. Does this make them undemocratic? At first glance, this seems to present a problem of legitimacy, but rather than questioning the democratic credibility of governance processes we might instead ask whether elections are too narrow a means of gauging representation, and explore wider and broader modes of representation which more accurately reflect the lived experience of politics and governance. This chapter begins by discussing developments in the more conventional branches of representation studies but then turns to discuss two influential new approaches: Michael Saward’s “representative claim” and John Dryzek and Simon Niemeyer’s “discursive representation.” The chapter ends by exploring issues of inequality and representativity through a discussion of gender, which highlights the importance of symbolic representation to the everyday practice of politics.

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