Acknowledging the elitist character of representative democracy, this book seeks new approaches to empirical studies on the relationship between citizens and their elected representatives. Focusing on the way representatives and citizens interact during mandate periods between elections, it integrates research literatures that study representative parallel relationships; it identifies new research questions; and it suggests a new understanding of the key concept ‘responsiveness’.
'Traditional political representation research focuses mainly on elections as instruments of representative democracy. In theory, voters can bring public policy in line with their preferences by voting for parties and representatives that share their policy views. But they can do so only once every four or five years. For the effectiveness of political representation, it is at least as important how responsive political representatives are in the long periods between elections and which mechanisms make them more or less responsive.
This book makes an important and original contribution to the literature on political representation by studying the effectiveness of these mechanisms between elections. Esaiasson and Narud’s extremely timely volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the normative and empirical aspects of political representation.'
Jacques Thomassen, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Twente
'This book brings a novel and integrating perspective to non-electoral representative democracy. While research has documented the crude nature of the electoral instrument – although distributing legitimacy, mandate and punishment –
the literature on representative processes between elections rarely conceptualizes their overarching, supplementary impact. The authors examine the rich toolbox available to citizens and representatives to gain guidance and establish limitations for responsive, everyday government. They refine our theoretical understanding and extend our empirical knowledge of the behavioural and communicative processes central to representative, but elitist democracy.'
Knut Heidar, Professor, Institutt for Statsvitenskap, University of Oslo