Representation is like “a rather complicated, convoluted, three-dimensional structure in the
middle of a dark enclosure,” and different approaches to the concept are but “flash-bulb
photographs of the structure taken from different angles.”
1. Symbolic Rep: stands for me, you, the community.
a. We are represented by the Queen, the government etc.
b. Regardless of what happens or our relationship with them, the rep will help us
2. Formalistic Rep: translate represent to representing
a. Go vote—person gets elected
As long as our law-making bodies are elected, the condition of formalistic representation is
3. Substantive (instrumental): one of the most important:
a. Three ways I trust you
i. Trustee: I trust that person to do what I like, to make a good decision
because I am not informed or educated on the choice.
ii. Delegate: if you don’t do what I want, you have to go. I gave that to you
iii. Party member: I actually don’t care about whom you are, I’m just voting
for you because you are a part of the party I like.
Instrumental representation’s defining characteristic is the commitment to take action and
speak for the represented. It involves acting for a particular segment of the population or political
4. Constitutive: kind of like the 3 face of power
a. Filter it so that we have only a few options
b. The things we are asking for and requesting may be given to us from “up there”
(preselected for us)
Constitutive representation involves giving meaning to that interest by defining who it is that is
being represented. Instrumental and constitutive are the current dimensions to contemporary