Feminist Democratic Representation: Book presentation in ‘Authors meets Critics’ panel

Karen Celis, S Childs

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper

15 Citations (Scopus)


When are women well represented, politically speaking? The popular consensus has been, for some time, when descriptive representatives put women’s issues and feminist interests on the political agenda. Today, such certainty has been well and truly shaken; differences among women—especially how they conceive of their “interests”—is said to fatally undermine the principle and practice of women’s group representation. There has been a serious loss of faith, too, in legislatures as the sites where political representation takes place. Feminist Democratic Representation responds by making a second-generation feminist design intervention; firmly grounded in feminist empirical political science, the authors’ design shows how women’s misrepresentation is best met procedurally, taking women’s differences as their starting point, adopting an indivisible conception of representation, and reclaiming the role of legislatures. This book introduces a new group of actors—the affected representatives of women—and two new parliamentary practices: Group advocacy and account giving. Working with a series of vignettes—abortion, prostitution, Muslim women’s dress, and Marine Le Pen—the authors explore how these representational problematics might fare were a feminist democratic process of representation in place. The ideal representative effects are broad rather than simply descriptive or substantive: They include effects relating to affinity, trust, legitimacy, symbolism, and affect. They manifest in stronger representative relationships among women in society, and between women and their representatives, elected and affective; and greater support for the procedures, institutions, and substantive outputs of representative politics, and at a higher level, the idea of representative democracy. Against the more fashionable tide of post-representative politics, Feminist Democratic Representation argues for more and better representation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages244
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAnnual Meeting of the American Political Science Association - San Francisco. Virtual meeting.
Duration: 10 Sep 202013 Sep 2020


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the American Political Science Association


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