Performing political representation: Varieties, strategies, and effectiveness

  • Severs, Eline (Administrative Promotor)
  • Oorts, Hannah Stefan E, (Collaborator)

Project Details


How do claims or assertions of representation come to be recognized by citizen audiences in today's multifaceted and fast-changing societies? What role do performances of representation play in evoking and mobilizing citizen audiences? Drawing upon new insights in the theory of political representation, and featuring detailed qualitative analysis of four case studies across four countries, this project seeks to answer these questions and to illuminate the practices through which political actors acquire representative status or are recognised as standing for others in society. What do our would-be representatives need to do, to convince us that they represent efficaciously and sincerely? How do they appear and engage, make their claims, gather and find points of resonance with their audiences - in short, how do (and how can) they perform political representation? The project draws upon and contributes to a lively and topical seam in interdisciplinary research which is rethinking political and democratic representation. This burgeoning field of theory and empirical research recognises that representative claims are performed, in the sense of being acted, staged, scripted, timed, and displayed. This project features a closer and more detailed analysis of how political representation is performed than is available in current research. The questions and focus of the project speak directly to significant and complex challenges to democracy and representative governance today. In particular, there are signs of a serious 'representative disconnect' between citizens and their elected representatives. Diagnosing disconnection is one thing; pinpointing its causes, or identify remedies, is another thing entirely. The project aims to produce new insights into citizens' understanding of and expectations towards representative democracy: how performance can evoke an affective or emotional dimension to politics, potentially engaging citizens in new ways, and how performance can prompt effective connections between representatives and the represented.
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/10/2230/09/26

Flemish discipline codes

  • Other political science not elsewhere classified