The Concept of Representation

The Concept of Representation Being concerned with representation this book is about an idea a concept a word It is primarily a conceptual analysis not a historical study of the way in which representative government has evolv

  • Title: The Concept of Representation
  • Author: Hanna Fenichel Pitkin
  • ISBN: 9780520021563
  • Page: 314
  • Format: Paperback
  • Being concerned with representation, this book is about an idea, a concept, a word It is primarily a conceptual analysis, not a historical study of the way in which representative government has evolved, nor yet an empirical investigation of the behavior of contemporary representatives or the expectations voters have about them Yet, although the book is about a word, itBeing concerned with representation, this book is about an idea, a concept, a word It is primarily a conceptual analysis, not a historical study of the way in which representative government has evolved, nor yet an empirical investigation of the behavior of contemporary representatives or the expectations voters have about them Yet, although the book is about a word, it is not about mere words, not merely about words For the social philosopher, for the social scientist, words are not mere they are the tools of his trade and a vital part of his subject matter Since human beings are not merely political animals but also language using animals, their behavior is shaped by their ideas What they do and how they do it depends upon how they see themselves and their world, and this in turn depends upon the concepts through which they see Learning what representation means and learning how to represent are intimately connected But even beyond this, the social theorist sees the world through a network of concepts Our words define and delimit our world in important ways, and this is particularly true of the world of human and social things For a zoologist may capture a rare specimen and simply observe it but who can capture an instance of representation or of power, or of interest Such things, too, can be observed, but the observation always presupposes at least a rudimentary conception of what representation or power, or interest is, what counts as representation, where it leaves off and some other phenomenon begins Questions about what representation is, or is like, are not fully separable from the question of what representation means This book approaches the former questions by way of the latter.

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    • The Concept of Representation « Hanna Fenichel Pitkin
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    Hanna Fenichel Pitkin Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Concept of Representation book, this is one of the most wanted Hanna Fenichel Pitkin author readers around the world.

  • 367 Comments

  • I need more books like this. By profession, I am a theorist, that studies positive political theory. Math in voting theory has some uses, but it also have limitations and some faulty shortcuts. When I deal with choosing optimal delegations axiomatically, the model I am building upon is actually already incorporates some assumptions about representation in the expense of the others. I was not aware. I was aware what I was focusing on, how much my assumptions in my mathematical model makes sense. [...]


  • We need representation precisely where we are not content to leave matters to the expert; we can have substantive representation only where interest is involved, that is, where decisions are not merely arbitrary choice. (212)It seems to me that we show a government to be representative not by demonstrating its control over its subjects but just the reverse, by demonstrating that its subjects have control over what it does (232)


  • Ernest Barker, al analizar el numeroso grupo de seguidores de los dictadores fascistas, en relación con la noción de representación afirma lo siguiente: "El hecho fundamental es que este seguimiento representa o refleja la voluntad del líder, y no que el líder represente o refleje la voluntad de los seguidores. Sí hay representación, es representación inversa, procediendo hacia abajo desde el líder. El partido representa al líder: el pueblo, en tanto que toma su orientación del partid [...]


  • Hanna Pitkin has done a great service to those who think about representation. This book lays out an important examination of representation in politics. What is it? What are the implications? Pitkin adopts a philosophical perspective to explore matters. This was an important work for me in my graduate school career; I very much appreciated her analysis of the concept. The work is now almost four decades old--but it still holds up pretty well.


  • Pitkin did a masterful job of exploring the subject of representation. She did so by paying attention to how the word is used in contemporary usage and then went back to how it is used in a political context. I found her discussion of Edmund Burke particularly useful.


  • A classic in every sense of the word, still relevant today as it was 40 years ago. A must for every student of political representation.




  • Rather good summary of the ways ideas about "representation" in politics are ultimately tied up with ideological notions of "interests" and even reason and rationality itself.



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