This article focuses on the paradox of distance that lies at the core of political representation. The recognition—that is, understanding and acknowledgment—that the representative has to be close enough to those represented and at the same time be unlike them is crucial for effective and good popular representation in practice and theory. Rejected here is the pure-but-passive mirror-conception of representation, which the author of this article believes is not what Anti-Federalists advocated. The author also refutes the ongoing attempts to reduce popular representation to an expression of the will of the people. This will result in a plastic representation that in fact fails to represent at all. Representation, I argue, is an active act that involves bonding with the represented and knowing their circumstances, but then also taking a distance: reflecting, imagining, and functioning as a check on government. Only such critical political representation will suffice to meet the demands of a democratically hedged shi conception of popular representation from above.


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pp. 108-129
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