The Pitkinian Public: Representation in the Eyes of Citizens

34 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2021 Last revised: 1 May 2021

See all articles by Liron Lavi

Liron Lavi

University of California, Los Angeles

Clareta Treger

Tel Aviv University

Naama Rivlin-Angert

Tel Aviv University

Tamir Sheafer

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel Waismel-Manor

University of Haifa

Shaul Shenhav

The Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Liran Harsgor

University of Haifa

Michal Shamir

Tel Aviv University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 28, 2021

Abstract

What does it mean for citizens in democracies to be represented? Does it even matter? Representation theories and studies have mostly emphasized the representatives, giving only limited attention to the represented. In this paper, we address this lacuna by adopting Hanna Pitkin’s multidimensionality of representation and the act-for/stand-for tiered structure she posits, along with a reconceptualization of dyadic and collective representation as a matrix (rather than a dichotomy). We develop theoretically (and examine empirically) how citizens perceive all of Pitkin’s dimensions concurrently and their tiered structure at two points on the dyadic-collective matrix: representation by a politician/party and representation by the parliament. We develop a novel set of questions, based on in-depth interviews and designed to capture Pitkin’s theoretical concept of representation empirically among citizens. Utilizing the 2019-20 Israel National Election Studies, we find that citizens’ subjective patterns of representation are Pitkinian - multidimensional and tiered - across dyadic and collective representation. We further find that these patterns contribute to citizens’ overall feeling of representation, and that multidimensional representation, especially by the parliament (where they feel less represented), promotes support for democracy. Our study calls for more focus on representation from the citizens’ standpoint.

Keywords: Representation; Democratic backsliding; Dyadic and collective representation; Israel

Suggested Citation

Lavi, Liron and Treger, Clareta and Rivlin-Angert, Naama and Sheafer, Tamir and Waismel-Manor, Israel and Shenhav, Shaul and Harsgor, Liran and Shamir, Michal, The Pitkinian Public: Representation in the Eyes of Citizens (April 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3835506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3835506

Liron Lavi (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States
3106992109 (Phone)
90095 (Fax)

Clareta Treger

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Tel Aviv
Israel

Naama Rivlin-Angert

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel-Aviv, 6997801
Israel

Tamir Sheafer

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Israel Waismel-Manor

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

Shaul Shenhav

The Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Liran Harsgor

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

Michal Shamir

Tel Aviv University - Department of Political Science

Tel Aviv
Israel

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