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Models of Representation

5 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Anna Mahoney

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Models of Representation (diff. types of representation styles) • Delegate • Trustee • Substantive • Descriptive • Surrogate • Symbolic Some of these can be happening at the same time Delegate • The role of a representative who votes according to the preference of his or her constituency • Requires lots of communication between representative and the represented • Someone just standing in for you • I will vote exactly how you want me to vote- just acts out their constituent’s preference or interests; their own opinion does not influence their choice • Only a few active voices • Potential for high special interest influence • The benefit: No mediating, your interests will be put forth because the delegate won’t change his mind • Drawback: You have to communicate to the delegate what your interests are o Problem b/c most of us don’t know what are interests are! o Requires a level of political sophistication in constituents o Reality: Most people are not in communication with their representatives Trustee • The role of a representative who votes based on what he or she thinks is best for his or her constituency • Not enough input by constituents • Reelection is the only mechanism of accountability (for delegates there is always accountability) • Anticipatory, Gyroscopic • As a trustee, you make the call based on what you think • Are sometimes winging it and not communicating enough with their constituents • Requires the trustee to make the best judgment without enough input from their constituents Substantive • The tendency of representatives to advocate for certain groups even in contrast to their own personal background • The only thing that matters is what is that person doing for your interests • Ex. US Senator Edward Kennedy’s advocacy for the poor; U.S. Senator Clinton’s advocacy for war veterans • Interests, not characteristics are primary • Accountability is an examination of policy stances and efforts as a representative o Promissory: Campaign promises kept or failed o Anticipatory: Anticipated constituent desires at next election o Gyroscopic: Representative looks within him/herself for decision-making • You can be substantively represented by people who don’t share your characteristics Descriptive • Should a legislative body be an accurate correspondence or resemblance to what it represents by reflecting without distortion? • To be truly representative must a legislative body be proportional to the national as a whole? • Ex. Should a Black person represent Black people • Depends not on action but on characteristics o What he/she is like, not what he/she does • Doesn’t “act for” others but “stands for” others • Composition will determine the activities of the body (gyroscopic) Symbolic • Based on condition or a state of mind • Rests on emotional, psychological, responses • Is the representative believed in? • Can be constructed though ceremonial activities • Requires a two-way relationship between the representative and the represented • Symbol making is constant in politics Surrogate • Legislator represent people outside of their own districts • Ex. Members of Congress from MN leads opposition to war opposed by voters in Missouri and Ohio but those representatives support the war • Affluent and organized can contribute financially (monetary surrogacy) • Common for representatives of marginalized groups • You can write a check to help the representatives of other districts who represent your beliefs so they get elected to Congress • However, you can’t get to actually vote for them to get them in or get them out • Outside person is affecting a representative’s campaign  could be problematic • Sometimes very minority interest can be still represented! Mansbridge • It is possible for all these models to be the incorporated style of a representative. They are not exclusive. • Descriptive and Symbolic are particularly important when considering political efficacy and democratic legitimacy • Descriptive- You share characteristics with your representative! Somehow share a like experience with you • Descriptive representative o The
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