A NEW GERMAN-FRENCH RESEARCH PROJECT (2016-2019): (NEW) POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVE CLAIMS: A GLOBAL VIEW (FRANCE, GERMANY, BRAZIL, CHINA, INDIA)

A German-French research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the French L’Agence Nationale De La Recherche (ANR), 2016-2019. Leading scientists are Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer of the University of Duisburg-Essen and Prof. Dr. Brigitte Geissel of the Goethe University of Frankfurt, as well as Prof. Yves Sintomer from the Center de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris (CRESPPA) and Ms Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal of the Center d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS -EHESS) Paris.

Established forms of political representation are currently in a crisis, visible, for example, in a decline in political confidence. At the same time (new) forms of representation (eg also on the Internet) and new demands of political representation (representative claims) are emerging. So far, however, research is still largely focused on elections, mandates and individual country studies. Comprehensive analyzes from a comparative-global perspective to (new) forms of representation and new ‚representative claims‘ are still largely lacking. The planned research project will contribute to the elimination of these desiderates. It focuses on new forms of representation and representative claims in France and Germany – two leading democracies in the European Union,

Starting from German and French political theory, ‚classic‘ political representation serves as the starting point of our preliminary concept. At the same time, we assume that representation via elections and mandate is central but is no longer sufficient for the understanding of current developments. Rather, a far-reaching perspective is required. Our premise is that the development of political representation is closely intertwined with the rise of various representative claims, ie, facts in which actors claim to speak and act on behalf of others. Such representative claims are frequently accompanied by a criticism of the lack of representation of specific groups and the associated demand for the correction of representation deficits. Although representative claims are growing worldwide, an analysis framework and a typology are still lacking, which allow a more basic understanding of these processes. The planned research project will fill this conceptual lecture.

Representative claims in the five selected countries are identified, analyzed and typified from a comparative-global perspective. We focus on two fields of research: 1. Public debates on representation and representative claims at the national level, and 2. Representation and representative claims in participatory procedures at the local level. Our research is mainly based on qualitative methods of data collection (document and internet research, participating observation, expert and depth interviews, etc.). The goal is the development of patterns of new forms of political representation and representative claims as well as the development of a corresponding typology. In addition, theories on representation are to be further developed.