About this Research Topic
The discussion and empirical analysis of the increasing citizen dissatisfaction with existing representative institutions has become a central concern for political science in recent decades. Political theory has also contributed to this debate by focusing increasingly on non-elective forms of political participation. Paradoxically, there has not been a significant dialogue between political theory and empirical research that would aim to understand whether these non-elective forms of participation are to be conceived as a complement, a diversion or even a full-blown alternative to political representation. Is representation dispensable? What are the alternatives to existing institutions? How are existing institutions and their alternatives perceived by citizens, parties and elected representatives?
This Research Topic aims to open a dialogue between political theory and empirical work on actors’ perceptions, in several ways:
• First, it seeks to relate theoretical reflections on potential reforms to the ideas of citizens and representatives themselves.
• Second, it aims to provide new avenues for empirical research on actors’ perceptions by borrowing new approaches and ideas from political theory. For instance, beyond what citizens and representatives already know about representative democracy, how do they react to more surprising and radical proposals such as selection by lot, ’liquid’ democracy or the practice of recalling representatives?
• Third, in welcoming contributions using multiple methods (including individual and couple interviews, focus groups and surveys), we wish to highlight the importance of using various methods to investigate this issue and to better understand the conceptions of democracy mobilized by citizens and elected representatives. In sum, this Research Topic aims to break down the barriers between different fields of research on the mutations of (representative) democracy and to compare perspectives on representation in different countries.
Keywords: representation, dissatisfaction, democratic innovations, citizens, political theory
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.