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Political representation lies at the core of modern politics. Democracies, with their vast numbers of citizens, could not operate without representative institutions. Yet relations between the democratic ideal and the everyday practice of political representation have never been well defined and remain the subject of vigorous debate among historians, political theorists, lawyers, and citizens. In this volume, an eminent group of scholars move forward the debates about political representation on a number of fronts. Drawing on insights from political science, history, political theory, economics, and anthropology, the authors provide much-needed clarity to some of the most vexing questions about political representation. They also reveal new and enlightening perspectives on this fundamental political practice. Topics discussed include representation before democracy, political parties, minorities, electoral competition, and ideology. This volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the ideal and the reality of political representation.
How should pro-democratic forces safeguard representative government from anti-democratic forces? By granting rights of participation to groups that do not share democratic values, democracies may endanger the very rights they have granted; but denying these rights may also undermine democratic values. Alexander Kirshner offers a set of principles for determining when one may reasonably refuse rights of participation, and he defends this theory through real-world examples, ranging from the far-right British Nationalist Party to Turkey's Islamist Welfare Party to America's Democratic Party during Reconstruction.
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