WSPÓŁCZESNE ROZUMIENIE POJĘCIA REPREZENTACJI POLITYCZNEJ (ZARYS PROBLEMU)

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2005

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Wydział Prawa i Administracji UAM

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CONTEMPORARY UNDERSTANDING OF POLITICAL REPRESENTATION (OUTLINE)

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The article constitutes a review of the contemporary concepts of a political representation. The phenomenon of representation may be construed in three different ways. Firstly, in the philosophical approach, such a representation denotes the duality of existence, something that is present and absent at the same time. The essence of representation in the philosophical approach stems basically from the fact that each represented unit or each individual lives and thinks (i.e. functions) in the person who is his or her representative, and through the trust and confidence in that person, such an individual identifies his or her will with the will of the person who represents him or her. The second possible construction of representation is a legal approach, in which a notion of representation constitutes a legal competence that permits one to make decisions of importance for the state. In such a case the competence of the electoral body is the authority to designate representatives, the competence of whom is then to perform public functions that are reserved for a representative organ. Finally, the third possible interpretation of representation is within its sociological understanding. Here, on the one hand a representation is seen as „responsible governments”, while on the other hand it is perceived as a „government based on the public opinion”. In the first case such a representation means a government exercised by the elite chosen in democratic elections, liable to the electorate who has chosen its members because of their politics and the policies they pursue. It is necessary here to complement the concept of representation with a wording content compliant to the principles of the state policies and social opinions. Such an approach is close to the broadly understood, stricte sociological, approach, namely the theory of the „government of the public opinion”. That theory emphasises the relations between those who govern and those governed, the differences and similarities between them and their behaviour. It is so because those governments are to base on the public opinion and are to be, sui generis, a form of aggregating the postulates and expectations articulated by the public in respect of the manner in which the state’s politics is being carried out.

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Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny 67, 2005, z. 2, s. 223-237.

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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego