Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Representation Unbound: Institutions and Practices for Transnational Democracy
by Lampert, Joseph Patrick, Ph.D., Yale University, 2010, 240; 3440630
Abstract (Summary)

The task of democratic theory and practice in an age of globalization is not to construct global institutions that will represent the world's people in the manner associated with conventional notions of domestic democratic governance, but to develop ways of appropriately representing those interests that currently are not included within the decision-making processes of powerful transnational social actors, but that are relevantly affected by their activities. This dissertation develops an account of political representation that provides an analytical and normative framework for this endeavor. In contrast to conventional accounts of democratic representation, which attempt to link representation in one way or another with popular will, the democratic value of practices and institutions of representation is to provide a framework of political power that is amenable to being contested by those over whom power is exercised. In a transnational context, this requires re-conceptualizing two elements of representation as it has developed over time. First, rather than assuming that the people of a particular political community or nation constitute the appropriate demos for representation, this framework adopts the democratic principle that anyone affected by a decision has a claim to be included in decision-making processes. Second, rather than relying on the familiar institutions and practices of domestic representation (elections, legislatures, and the like), a problem-based approach to institutional design better aligns with the power dynamics of transnational currents.

Responding to the challenges of transnational political problems for democracy, then, counsels devising ways of designing the standards of democratic representation into governing arrangements that are specific to particular policy domains. Depending on the constellation of interests at stake, this method may require international institutions, marshalling the institutions of states for transnational purposes, or some combination of the two. The dissertation applies this approach to the problems of migration and climate change, engaging in in-depth analysis of the affected interests at stake and the power dynamics that structure each problem. The aim here is to pay particular attention to the complexity of these issues, and to base normative arguments in a careful understanding of the problems based in relevant empirical research. The analysis considers how to democratically represent the interests of citizens, immigrants and potential immigrants, future generations, and residents of developing and developed countries, and it addresses the role that various agents and institutional forms may play in representative politics, including the institutions of border control, legislatures and elections, administrative and judicial bodies, scientists and scientific organizations, and international organizations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shapiro, Ian
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science
Keywords: Democracy, Democratic theory, Representation, Transnational democracy
Publication Number: 3440630
ISBN: 978-1-124-42147-6
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