Rethinking Representation

5th Biennial Ideas in Politics Conference

Prague, November  20–22 , 2024

Democratic theorists have long been suspicious of representation, seeing it as alien or contradictory to democracy. Some still consider representation and democracy, in Hanna Pitkin’s words, an “uneasy alliance”. The discontent expressed by citizens in the slogan “We have a vote, but we do not have a voice!” during various protest movements throughout the last fifteen years gives credence to Pitkin’s warning. The latest developments also urge us to rethink the concept of representation and its place in democracy. The so-called constructivist turn proposed a novel approach to representation, which allowed for a deeper appreciation of its democratic potential beyond electoral procedures. At the same time, it introduced a new set of questions regarding representation’s democratic deficit. The conference invites researchers to discuss some of these questions. Are there ways to rearticulate the democracy-representation relationship that would overcome citizens’ discontent and help tackle pressing global issues? How should this re-articulation look vis-à-vis the climate crisis, which raises an urgent question of how to represent the non-human? Are there ways to rethink representation to better cope with long-time pressing issues of social inequality or distrust towards institutions today enhanced by digital technologies, enabling easier dissemination of conspiracy theories? What is the future of democratic representation beyond electoral procedures and nation-states? Or does representation already belong to the past as a democratically exhausted concept?  

The conference will be jointly hosted by the Institute of Political Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, and the Department of Political Philosophy and Globalization Research at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Keynote speakers

Call for Papers

We invite proposals of individual papers as well as panels (comprising 3–4 papers) on the following broadly defined topics:

  • Representation in the History of Political Thought
  • Representation After the Constructivist Turn
  • Aesthetics of Representation: Images, Symbols, Bodies
  • Populism as a Form of (Un)Democratic Representation
  • Representing the Non-Human
  • Democratic Representation Beyond the Nation-State
  • Representation and Digital Technologies

Paper abstracts and panel proposals should be submitted electronically by June 30th, 2024. For more details and to submit a proposal, please click here.