The concept of representation is at the core of modern democratic government. It refers to the link between citizens’ preferences or interests and public policymaking processes and output. While formal representation in the legislature is usually the focus, given the central role of the legislature as the primary institution for the mediation of citizens’ preferences, representation can also take place through other means. This includes representation through voluntary associations or associational life, political parties, and the bureaucracy.

The issue of the representation of the poor and other disadvantaged groups in society, such as people of color, aboriginal communities, and ethnic and “visible minorities,” has received increasing scholarly attention. This attention emerges from the fact that while in principle, democracy is built on the concept of political ...

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