Representation in the Political Field and the Problems of Supra-National Integration and Globalisation


Fulco Lanchester
Full professor of Italian and Comparative Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Political Science, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’.

1.General points;2. An outline of the concepts;3. Democracy and representation;4. Representation in the political field and political representation; 5. Consequences; 6. Conclusions.

1. General points
In this paper, which takes into consideration the cultural suggestions made by this conference, I shall follow three main lines of enquiry: firstly I shall give a conceptual classification of acts of representation (see paragraph 2); secondly, I shall briefly point out certain difficulties in the relationship between democracy and representation (see paragraph 3); finally, I shall concentrate on political character, differentiating between the concept of representation in the political field and that of political representation (see paragraph 4). During the course of my analysis I shall selectively highlight the difficulties that, in our current historical and spiritual situation, are faced by the parliamentary institutions of single nation states in carrying out the function of representation and the risks that can follow (paragraph 5) and I shall conclude by making some suggestions for further development.

2. An outline of the concept
In lay terms the verb ‘to represent’ has multiple meanings, ranging from reproducing or depicting with an image or in words a specific reality or model, to acting as a representative of others.1 The noun ‘representation’, on the other hand, describes a specific act of substitution of an individual person or group, acting on their behalf or looking after their interests, and also the precise relationship between the representative and those he represents.2
The act of representation answers five classic questions: who represents whom or what? where? when? how? and why?
a) The question who represents whom or what? points to numerous possible situations where the representation involves people or things as terms in a relationship, which must be dynamic and make sense to those involved.3 Not only can a person represent themselves, but an individual person or artificial person can represent other individuals or groups in highly complex ways. The main dichotomy here is, on the one hand , the type of representation ( numenic or immanentist) based on the fact that its origin can be identified outside or within the human community, and on the other, the nature of the representative relationship(whether it is mandatory or delegatory,or based on trust, which, when it comes to an authoritative distribution of values, becomes political4 ; or sociological, and the relationship takes on only an existential resemblance).
b) The question where? applied to an act of representation displays two levels of analysis, which are correlated to one another and affect the nature of the act; first of all, the area of representation, whether it is private or public5, and secondly, the level of representation, linked to its political character or lack of such.
c) The question when? involves the position in time of the act of representation and indicates an absolute representation, or a permanent or temporary representation. With the term absolute representation I am referring to the religious concept which maintains that those who exercise power do so not as simple representatives of God, but as a mimesis of the Kingdom of Heaven,6 while permanent representation is meant to indicate a situation which has no temporal limits, once activated (over and above the fact of whether the type of representation is numenic or immanentist).
d) The question how? indicates the manner in which the representation is formed, whether it is created ex officio, or by means of an act of individual volition, or else by an elective group decision7. In the latter case the representative is chosen by an election procedure8, which conceptually involves a division or ‘divergence’9. How the representation is formed thus establishes its procedural and technical aspect, linking and integrating objectives that relate to self-determination and participation.
e) The answer to the why? question involves both the reason for the representation and its objective, and is obviously affected by other elements, and in particular by who, where and when. As far as regards the reasons for substituting the author by the agent, for example, in private cases representation comes about due to absence or incapacity, while in public cases it cannot be limited to the traditional, yet indispensible, qualitative and/or quantitative justifications which feature in philosophical or political analyses of macro-representation, but also involves reasons that relate to the legitimization of the relationships between those involved in the act of representation. The objectives of the representation contain material or non-material values of social relevance, which are ‘substantiated’ by the agent and which are questions asked by the author to other persons through the agent. In the public sphere, questions addressed to the political authorities, after reduction and articulation, eventually produce consistent answers in the authoritative allocation of social values, with subsequent reactions to those in political power on the part of the questioners.

3. Democracy and representation
Despite the fact that the origins of the subject, in a general view of the theoretical treatment, can be considered as unique I shall concentrate here on analysing the transformations of representation in the public sphere, with particular reference to its political nature and to the techniques used, taking into consideration the dynamics of legal systems and their transformations.
The majority of current political systems are found in the category of so-called representative democracies, or in other words, into forms of mixed regimes possessing wide latitudes.10 In reality, the use of the term ‘representative democracy’ is erroneous as regards a specific conceptual tradition which identifies democracy with a form of regime where decisions are taken directly by active co-members (the demos) whereas a republic is one where the decisions are exclusively made by representatives or delegates. In this sense an example might be the definition made by James Madison, who removed the confusion between democracy and republic by stating that ‘in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, will be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region..12
A similar inconsistency, justifiable only by the practical need to describe a political formula in the most acceptable way, even at the risk of making its basis incomprehensible, is found in the alternative term of parliamentary democracy, since this expression indicates that there exist collegial organs capable of integrating or almost totally substituting the demos in political activity13.
The term draws attention to only one of the constitutional organs that are relevant to the political process and risks becoming ‘explicative’ of one of the stages of representative systems,14 by excluding the democracy of the executive , with the more or less direct investiture on the part of the demos of the person charged with the executive, which employs a particular definition of representation.
At the basis of so-called representative democracies there normally lies an immanentist concept of interpersonal relationships and a qualitative and/or quantitative assessment by those belonging to the demos of the impossibility of direct action by a politician. This is the origin of the need for representation, or rather a particular relationship of substitution between individuals in the political field, or the authoritative distribution of values.
Such a statement clearly needs further clarification. In the first place, representation is not formed only by the elective act of members of a group (even if this is an ideological presupposition which is necessary and accepted in immanentist theories, which are dealt with below), since even a person who does not derive his position of power from an election can assume the character of a representative (the derivation of, for example, the theory of institutional representation)15.
In second place, the contemporary concept of representation, connected to politics, is linked historically with the state and individualism. The concept of representation in a political sense did not in fact exist either in Greece or Rome,16 while it took on a theological significance under Christianity.17 In this paper I concur with the view that the concept of representation entered into European terminology in its modern sense during the medieval period, both as a term and as a political idea. While Carl Schmitt in his Political Theology18links the concept to the representation of Christ as embodied by the Pope, Hanna F. Pitkin correlates representation to the work of Hobbes.19 This dichotomy is more apparent than real, because it indicates different phases and levels in the formation of legal systems in the modern state, based also on the rediscovery of the classical tradition represented by Aristotle. During the struggle between the church and the empire, the discovery of Aristotle’s Politics in the 12th and 13th centuries brought awareness of a political context that was distinct from that of the church, and the role of the people (whose nature, however, was yet to be defined) in this context.20 The process of secularisation, and the progressive creation of centralised systems, transferred, in various ways, some elements of this political context into the theory of the modern state of today, and thus confirm Schmitt’s intuition on the theological origins of modern political ideas.21
On the other hand, the medieval tradition of representation by social class offered a politician an indirect individual participation and a group representation. Not only was there no direct participation in the authoritative allocation of values, but the representative relationship was strictly linked to the mandate of a social group (Stand) or territory. Only with the contractual concepts of the 15th century did the idea of the right to individual self-determination develop in a coherent way, in the midst of a growing distinction between civil society, political society and its institutions.
This analysis is therefore closely linked to the idea of the modern state, or rather to that institution which historically: a) took legal shape between the 16th and 18th centuries; b) had its high point in the 19th century in the centralised European nation state; and c) which today, especially in its continent of origin, shows intense elements of change.
The state and politics are, as we know, closely linked, but it is by no means true that they are inseparable. Political activity, or the authoritative distribution of values, correlates to the presence of organised human groups, and existed before the state was created, and will continue to exist afterward.22 Although the political character of modern and contemporary systems is still associated with the idea of the state ( i.e. an institution founded on the distinction between public and private, internal supreme power and external independence), any discussion of the area of application of stat subjects traditional conceptual constructs to unbearable tension, and appropriate alternatives become necessary.
In third place, if it is true that the elective method is the principal means of legitimisation for the formal attribution of competence, and that the method can generate a direct representational relationship between the represented person and the person who substitutes him in certain functions, such a statement derives from the acceptance of precise conditions, which affect the type of representational relationship.23

4. Representation in the political field and political representation
The conceptual difference between ‘representation in the political field’ and ‘political representation’ or fiduciary representation, is the fact that the second describes a form of relationship linking the representative to the person represented, whereas the first describes the level at which the representation effectively takes place within an identified procedural space.24 Political representation in fact can be distinguished from other forms of relationship (such as delegatory, mandatory and sociological, according to classic treatments of the subject25) in that it demonstrates a form of fiduciary connection between the two parties to the representational relationship.26 Representation in the political field, on the other hand, attests mainly to a specific level at which the representative act takes place, and particular that at which the direct participation in the authoritative distribution of values is realised. The context considered here is therefore that of the ‘political’ and the political system in which the exercise of power is in the hands of single individuals and/or groups, who – entrusted with the role of representative (by election, nomination, ex officio or even co-optation) – must always, at least theoretically, be able to participate directly in the authoritative distribution of values, and not only be capable of merely influencing the distribution.
Not only this; the distinction between context and relationship shows that in the political field a representational relationship can exist that is not exclusively political (or fiduciary) but that can be mandatory, or delegatory, or sociological. Effectively, in a public law context, the mandate can also be imperative, and entrusted to an individual or a group, or else the representation can be interpreted as an existential relationship, distinguishing the presence of the person represented from the being there of the representative.
The concepts of representation in the political field and political representation are thus quite separate, even if the areas of application of both can overlap, particularly in liberal theory and democratic theory.

5. Consequences
From such concise assumptions we can derive three main consequences for the treatment that I shall develop here.
• The first deals with the level at which the representational relationship takes place, and we need to examine how the political character is distributed through time within the system, distinguishing between those who participate in the authoritative distribution of values and those who merely influence it.
• The second consequence, alternatively, demonstrates the importance of theories that legitimise political obligation, which form the basis of modern and contemporary political systems and which are connected, when adopted, with the material conditions of the relevant system. The ‘stand for’ of the representative on behalf of the person represented can only be justified by a theory of political obligation (or sovereignty)27 which on the one hand involves the idea of the mandate or the responsibility of the representative who represents the person being represented in the substitution, and on the other, involves the ability of the former to implicate the latter through his actions.
• The third consequence involves the relationship made between theory and practice of representation in the political field, since – as Burdeau at one time maintained28 – every technique of representation is backed by a theory of political regimes and political power, and also, to my mind, specific reasons, which we can define as ‘low kitchen’. A technique or procedure of representation can, therefore, be backed up by more than one theory, or can be of a complex nature. In fact, the procedures of representation are actually and necessarily a result of a more or less coherent mix that originates in historical overlapping, Basically, A (an individual or group) can be linked to B (an individual or group) by a representational relationship, which can be fiduciary ( and, when exercised in the context of an authoritative allocation of values, would be political), juridical, i.e. based on a mandate, or sociological (based on a similarity that implies a presence).
By distinguishing between the level and the type of representation, therefore, the indissoluble overlapping between political representation and representation in the political field, deriving from inherited ideological models from history, is eliminated. The relationship between author and agent can be distinguished, but the important fact is that it can be placed within the context of what we regard as political. We should also point out that one can be a representative, but not participate in the function of political direction, participate at a later date and in the end be excluded. During the history of representative institutions, for example, collegial bodies (parliaments) were institutions which, in the middle ages, influenced political direction; they became a central element in this and of the executives legitimised by popular consensus during the liberal and mass democracy periods; in some systems, finally, they lost their former relevance, at first to ‘outside’ institutions (political parties), and then to the executives legitimised by popular consensus, and its links to the party-parliamentary majority-government axis.
The context in which I make these observations is obviously closely connected to the great transformations that the entire political and ideological structure was subjected to throughout the 20th century. In particular, a crisis point was reached in the 19th century threefold equality between the law produced by the state, which held the monopoly; politics with the state, and the law produced by acts of parliament . Also, the human factor has entered into the centre of the system.29 Law and politics, therefore, found in the creation of the 19th century nation state the only place for prospective realisation, so that not only did the state become the centre of a complex relationship whose construction found differing solutions within each system, but national parliamentary representation became the theoretical central moving force of the system.
As regards the first topic, if one has representation in the political field when one participates in the authoritative distribution of values, then the contemporary political no longer resides exclusively at the national state level, but is distributed on various levels. The places where politics is realised are spread both upwards and downwards, but also, eventually, progress horizontally. The institution historically located as ‘state’ has been for some time now placed in doubt by phenomena of imperial hegemony, supranational integration and sub-national devolution, but above all it appears as only one of the institutional places functioning theoretically towards human development. The proliferation of places where one can locate the representation between centre and periphery, and the drift from collegiate towards monocratic organs is, however, the strong point of the delegitimisation and crisis of the representational relationship, with the resulting detriment to traditional representational institutions (elective assemblies at the summit of the state ) in favour of executives on the horizontal level, relative to higher or lower levels.
We are dealing with a complex problem, which embraces all the transformations in the forms of contemporary states and regimes, within the changes that have involved political forms, and have been long described as the transition from the pyramid structure of the nation state to the three-dimensional network of internationalisation and globalisation.30 This image, which though concise has the risk of being oversimplified, recalls the image described by Bertrand de Jouvenel of the medieval walled city and the compactness of the modern state, to which I would add the hundred skyscrapers of the contemporary city.31

The roots of modernity, obviously, are behind us; to explain them we need to start from the historical justifications for political obligation, and then return to the topic of transformations and consequences. This is not the place to trace the history of the modern and contemporary state up to the present day; I have done so in a book published by Giuffrè,32 based on a selection of personal preferences taken from a vast subject matter, which, by its very nature, can never be regarded as complete. In this work I considered as representation in the political field only that understood as substitution on the level of authoritative allocation of values, while I interpreted political representation as the relationship established between actor and agent on the fiduciary level within the political context.
In this viewpoint, the national parliamentary assemblies, an area of much research into the theme of representation in the political field, have been for a long time ‘non’ political representative bodies, and have become instead politically relevant only when they began to actually take part in the allocation of values. Today there is a danger of returning to the realm of influence and the simple representation of interests as regards the institutions that effectively hold political power.
As we know, Hobbes pointed out that the Commonwealth could be theoretically represented by a person or a group,33 but we must also observe that representation tends to become democratic only if (along with a certain type of theory on the legitimacy of including the maximum number of human persons in the demos) guarantees are given on the limits of power and the balance of the functions involved.34
In a state with pluralist democracy, both the Executive and the Legislative (the so-called active powers) can represent the ‘sovereign’ (that is, the people, represented in their turn by the demos). However, the formation of representation in mass societies transforms the sense of the appointment of the political representative group and the single representatives, and, with certain conditions, makes it a complicated choice on the part of the demos, where the individuals with the right to vote not only select a representative, but also a party formation, a programme and a leader.
Institutional techniques can coordinate the relationship between the active powers or keep them formally separate, but the politics of mass show the necessity of having powerful party formations, with participatory structures and formal guarantees that are as incisive as possible, in order to avoid the dangers of a slide towards oligarchy and plebiscitarism. The number, quality and organisational type of party formations, together with the real situation of civil and political society, affect the ability of the structures of authority and of those people who are politically relevant and who act within the structures to certify that the formally declared principles are the true ones.
The progressive enlargement of the demos to include the maximum number has progressively changed the techniques for the formation of representation. In the so-called one class state of the 19th century the tendency towards homogeneity of the demos led to the unquestioned adoption of techniques for transforming individual preferences into collective choices based on votes in assembly. With the extension of suffrage and the penetration into the complexity of civil society on the part of institutions, the requirement to adapt techniques of representation was based on the conflicting theories of individual representation (J. S. Mill) and functional representation (W. Bagehot).
In the crisis of participation in the Twenties and Thirties within the systems themselves, characterised by a lack of social and political homogeneity, the need was felt for the adoption of stabilising mechanisms of representation through the selection of ‘splinter’ parties by means of efficiency clauses, or by excluding the so-called ‘anti-system’ formations.
From the second post-war period onwards (and especially after the dispute over the so-called ‘swindle law’ and the French ‘loi scélérate’35) the debate has become less ideological, firstly by the systematic use of instruments providing maximum selectivity even in non-majority cases, and capable of integrating themselves with the form of government, and also simply by an ever-increasing attention to the so-called ‘ electoral legislation of entourage’.
In the last fifteen years, without doubt, there has been an intense restudying of representation in the political field and the relationship with political representation on the basis of a twofold drive. On the one hand, we have the problem of political instability and the deficit in representation of parties and institutions, and on the other, in more general terms, a diminishing of representation both in relation to the transformation of the means of participation and the delocalising of decisions into differing areas. It has been observed that the political is no longer exclusively of the state, but is spread across different levels, and has a reduced incidence in elections. In addition, representation in the political field has lost importance and other types of representation, in particular the institutional type, have been promoted, since they are considered to be less prone to influence and more closely linked to the counter-powers needed to oppose forms of mass-media demagogy.
Keeping the Italian national debate in the background and favouring the common features of pluralist democracy (both of ancient and modern formation), there exist, in my view, at least six tendencies which should be given pride of place, and which are as follows:
Firstly, we should confirm the loss, even on a formal basis, of the centrality of collegial representative institutions, and the subsequent importance of the personalisation of the contest in mass societies for the conquest of monocratic positions.
Secondly, we have a crisis in the representative role of parliamentary politicians, because of the complex nature of civil and political societies and the transformation of traditional differences and the appearance of new demands.
Thirdly, even if parliament members have been superseded – through the process of democratisation – by the parties, these have also now lost the ability to articulate and reduce the political demand in favour of individuals and groups. Thus we see the appearance of a new definition of the functions of parliamentary representation. In systems where the functional theory of representation is applied (with the creation of stable executives based on parties or leaders), we often find it confirmed that the parliamentary politician of the majority is transformed into a lobbyist opposing his own executive (see the Nolan Report in Britain36), and the case of the Bank of Italy suggests the same kind of situation. On the other hand, the theory of free mandate, on which rests the ideology behind the idea of political representation as a fiduciary relationship between representative and person represented, is thwarted by electoral laws that attribute, even on a formal basis, the responsibility of nomination of parliamentary members to the organs that present the election lists (in Italy, the national party secretaries or the Head of the coalition for the House of Deputies).
In fourth place, executives have a privileged role of representing the demands made by civil society and collating the representation. It is the executives, therefore, who directly represent the electoral body and who become the reference point for the interests that have to be represented, exercising their main function in allocating resources at a national level.
In fifth place, others who have not been legitimised by electoral consensus can provide a representative function and act as a counterweight. A function of expressing particular needs of civil society and also of control is attributed to technical organs possessing institutional representation, which was formerly attributed to constitutional organs produced by the popular will.
In sixth place, the reduction in competence of the central state institutions caused by processes of upward and downward devolution multiply the above mentioned phenomena, strengthening the role of the executives, who can participate in decisions to which the legislative organs are for the most part excluded.
Here can be seen clear dangers for systems describing themselves as democratic. These dangers are concentrated mostly in four main areas:
a) in the reduction of incidence at a national level without the certain existence of an alternative where individual citizens as demos can consistently and actively express their elective and deliberative wishes,
b) in the increasing crematistic pressure in politics, by which the activity in the sector of authoritative allocation of resources corresponds increasingly to the relationships of actual power, with the subsequent delegitimisation of the system’s underlying ideals.
c) in the lack of party participation, in the reduction of party formations to mere power and election machines, and in the attribution of instruments of demand and popular control to technical organs that have no direct legitimacy.
d) in the influence of the means of mass communication of an individualistic kind, with the result that the decision-making process of the demos is strongly influenced by the media and distorted by the potential concentration of these means in the hands of individual or group operators.
Faced with this situation and the illusion that the functional theory of democracy can be applied in all contexts without the appropriate counterweights, the idea of deliberative democracy, electronic democracy and village democracy have been suggested as solutions. All these forms remain partial and insufficient; deliberative democracy (a mélange of Rawls and Habermas) is only a palliative in that it is at most a form of voting given importance by the decisions it has to make,37 while so-called electronic democracy38 seems to be really an attempt to reintroduce a new form of oligarchic regime with both the mirage of the village democracy and a refuge on the university campus. On the other hand the feeling that the regularity of the voting process is continually at stake is confirmed by recent well-known incidents in the US and Britain.
The three aspects now to be considered attest to the fundamental importance given to the voting process and its honesty in democratic systems, as well as the need to maintain high standards, in order to avoid the ever-present danger of plebiscitarism and the kind of populism underlined by Aron, based on classical observations. To this can be added the idea of a multi-level democracy and that of an ‘infra-party’ democracy. The first can be seen as the prime cause of the crisis in representation in politics. In fact, the moving of the political centre of gravity from the national level to the supra-national level of integration and to the local level means that we need to redefine the instruments of democracy. Parliamentary democracy of national systems, challenged by movements towards plebiscitarism and populism, sees the role of parliament reduced downwards to sub-national devolution or upwards to integration. The solution foreseen by multi-level democracy recalls the idea created by Althus, and can be seen as an attempt to lessen the importance of Hobbes, but it also shows how difficult it is to manage the political by means of the multiple representations of the electoral colleges and illustrates the dangers of personalisation. In fact it is the executives who acquire an increasing importance, and the privileged place of representation is transferred from the colleges to the monocratic organs. Also here we find the unresolved and undervalued problem of the continual formal testing of the correctness of the selection procedures and those of the choosing of candidates through party primaries, an area where we experience democracy’s labour of Sysiphus.


1.Here we can specifically include not only the representation of oneself or another on the part of an individual, but also representation on the part of a group. In fact if identity “is an individual’s or group’s sense of self” and if this is “the product of self-consciousness” (see S. P. Huntington, Who are we? America’s Great Debate, London, Simon & Schuster, 2004, p. 21), then identity is not only the result of formal acts deriving from the acknowledgement of specific statuses, but also an act of self-representation where a single individual and group find themselves, and are contrasted with others.
2. Here I follow standard practice, keeping in mind however the wealth of meanings the words represent and representation have assumed throughout their conceptual history. See H. Hofmann, Repräsentation – Studien zur Wort- und Begriffsgeschichte von der Antike bis ins 19. Jahrhundert, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 1990 (2° ed.), particularly the introduction; F. Casella, Profili costituzionali della rappresentanza. Percorsi storici e comparatistici, Naples, Jovene, 1997, p. 9 ff. and G. Duso, La rappresentanza, un problema di filosofia politica, Milan, Angeli, 1988, and the same author’s Genesi e logica della rappresentanza politica moderna, in ‘La rappresentanza politica’, in ‘Fundamentos’ n° 3; P Costa, Il problema della rappresentanza politica: una prospettiva storica, in ‘Filangieri’ 2004, n° 3, p. 329 ff.
3. See M. Weber, Il metodo delle scienze storico-sociali, Turin, Einaudi, 1958, and J. Freund, Sociologia di Max Weber, Milan, Il Saggiatore, 1968.
4. For the definition of political, see D. Easton, The Political System: an Inquiry into the State of Political Science, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1981.
5. Based on the well-known definition given by Ulpian: Publicum ius est quod ad statum rei Romanae spectat, privatum quod ad singulorum utilitatem pertinet, (Inst. 1.1.4 – D
6. See, e.g. S: Runciman, Byzantine Theocracy, with an introductory essay by S. Ronchey, Florence, Sansoni, 1998, p. 25 ff.
7. I am ignoring the mechanism of the expression quasi per inspirationem, which was traditionally used in conclaves and was eliminated by John Paul II in the Costituzione apostolica Universi Dominici gregis, promulgated 22nd February 1996 (though revised by Benedict XVI in the ‘motu proprio’ De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electioe romani pontificis of 11th June 2007. The instrument defined in “quando scilicet omnes Cardinales, quasi afflati Spiritu Sancto, aliquem unanimiter et viva voce, libere ac sponte Summum Pontificem proclamant” (see Pius XII, Constitutio Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, Decembris 8, 1945 – see Caput V, De forma electionis, 66) really belongs to the class of acclamations (as correctly noted by the Constitution De Romano pontefiche eligendo, 63, issued by Paul VI, who, even in the last century, was terrified by mass totalitarian systems, regarding them as lacking the features of ‘libere ac sponte’ (see, e.g. A Somma, I giuristi e l’Asse culturale Roma-Berlino: economia e politica nel diritto fascista e nazionalsocialista, Frankfurt a M., Klostermann, 2005, p. 296).
8. See F. Lanchester, Gli Strumenti della democrazia, Milan, Giuffrè, 2004
9. In contemporary systems representation in the political field and the representational relationship itself are also linked to specific institutions (parties), and can be seen from the etymology of the word ‘party’, deriving from the past participle of the Latin verb partiri, meaning ‘divide’. There is an obvious connection between ‘take sides’ and mettere partito on the one hand and the decision procedures of a group: deliberative decisions lead to voting on issues or action to be taken, while elective decisions are used to put individuals into positions of authority or responsibility, who are able, if necessary, to set up a representative relationship. In political systems of mass, taking sides no longer refers to the position of the single individual, but becomes linked to the existence of real institutions (political parties), that can channel the wishes of those with voting rights, favouring the participation of members of the demos (i.e. the active part of the population) who can participate (pars-capere, or take part, take sides) giving themselves self-determination and determining the action of the group. On this subjeect, and for particular as regards the importance of proceduralised infra-party decisions for the system, see F. Lanchester, Il problema del partito politico: regolare gli sregolati, in ‘Quaderni costituzionali, 1988, n° 3, p. 487 ff, and M. Valbruzzi, Primarie – Partecipazione e Leadership, Bologna, Bononia U.P., 2005.
10. See B. Manin, Principes du gouvernement représentatif,Paris, Flammarion,1996; D. Fisichella, La rappresentanza politica, Rome-Bari, Laterza,1996; A.Papa, La rappresentanza politica – Forme attuali di esercizio del potere, Naples,Editoriale Scientifica,1998. On the subject of forms of mixed regimes and the variations on the subject of mixed constitutions, see “filosofia politica”, 2005, n°.1; as regards the conceptual tools used here, see F. Lanchester, Gli strumenti della democrazia, Milan, Giuffrè, 2004.
12. See Federalist No.14, Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory, Answered From the New York Packet. Friday, November 30, 1787(Il federalista , edited by M. D'Addio and G. Negri ,Bologna, Il Mulino ,1980, pp.119-120).; also see R.Scigliano,Representation,in “The Encyclopaedia of Democracy”, S.M.Lipset ed. in Chief, London, Routledge,1995,vol.III, pp.1054 ff.
13. See R. Dahrendorf, La società riaperta, cit., pp. 323 ff.; M. Luciani, Art. 75 : formazione delle leggi. To. 1. 2, il referendum abrogativo, Bologna, Zanichelli ; Roma : Soc. ed. del Foro italiano, 2005.
14. see for the idea that “Die zentrale legitimation der parlamentarische Demokratie liegt in ihrer Organisation .Die Idee nach handelt di Volksvetretung nicht nur für Bürger ,sie verkoerpet die Bürgerschaft ,'sie ist das Volk',der 'peuple en miniature” in W. Leisner,Demokratie.Betrachtungen zur Entwicklung eine gefaehrdeten Staatsform, Berlin,Duncker & Humblot, 1998, p3.
15. See C.Esposito, La rappresentanza istituzionale,in Scritti giuridici in onore di Santi Romano,vol.I, Padua,Cedam,1940, pp.307 ff. e V. Zangara, La rappresentanza istituzionale, Padua, Cedam, 1952²
16. See the observations of C.J. Friedrich in the preface to the English edition of J.Althusius, Politica methodice digesta of Johannes Althusius, The Politics of Johannes Althusius, translated with an introduction by F. S. Carney ,London ,Eire & Spottiwode ,1964 ,pp.VII ff., but also the famous remarks of J.J. Rousseau in “Le contrat social ou Principes de droit politique ,in “Oeuvres complètes “,III, Paris,1966, p.430 where he attributes it to feudal government. A similar formulation is generally accepted and forms one of the distinguishing features between ancient and modern political organisation (see a brief survey in Scigliano,Representation,in “The Encyclopaedia of Democracy”,op. cit. pp.1054 ff.).For the different use of ‘classical’ (especially Greek) examples, see A. W. Saxonhouse ,Classical Greece and Rome ,in idem, vol.I, pp.351 ff.. From Machiavelli onwards (Discorsi sulla prima decade di Tito Livio ) the importance of the institutions of the past begins to be rediscovered, so that from the 16th century, Rome, and from the 19th, Greece, are reexamined for their institutional interest to moderns. One has only to think of the negative attitude of the Federalist or of Constant himself (De la liberté des Anciens comparée à celle des Modernes [1819], Paris, Livres de Poche,1980) to Greek democracy, and the change that took place on the subject during the Jackson era, or of the position of George Grote in Great Britain, who praised Athenian democracy to the skies (see A History of Greece, London, Murray,1846-1856), or the more recent position of Hannah Arendt (Sulla rivoluzione, con una nota di R. Zorzi, Milano, Comunità, 1965),who maintained that Greek democracy was a model of political participation that could show up the inadequacy of the individualistic democracy of today.
17. See L.Ullrich, Representation ,in “Handbook of Catholic Theology “, New York, Crossroad,1995, p.583 where after describing the representative role carried out by the prophets, he points out the function of representative for the salvation of mankind assumed by Christ and by the community of the faithful. According to the theory put forward by Anselm, Christ has restored the order of the creation (c.f. Ullrich, Satisfaction Theory ,op cit. ,p.648), thus redemption can be understood as a “freeing of Human freedom by representation of the one free person”.
18. See C.Schmitt, Le categorie del «politico», a cura di G. Mi¬glio e di P. Schiera, Il Mulino, Bologna 1972 .
19. H.F.Pitkin, The Concept of Representation ,in Representation, edited by the author, New York, Atherton Press, 1969, pp.6 ff.
20. For a brief analysis of the subject, see P.Barry Clarke, Representation,Concept of, in P.Barry Clarke- J. Foweraker(eds), Encyclopaedia of Democratic Thought, London – New York, Routledge, 2001, pp.598 ff.. In the introduction to the second edition of his book, Hasso Hofmann (Repraesentation . Studien zur Wort – und Begriffsgeschichte von der Antike bis ins 19. Jahrhundert,cit.) shows how reference is always made to Schmitt and Leibholz on the subject of representation, but also how W. Mantl pointed out in Repräsentation und Identität ,Demokratie im Komflikt .Ein Beitrag zur modernen Staatsformenlehre,Wien , New York , Springer,1975 the limits of this view.
21. See C. Schmitt , Le categorie del «politico», op cit., p. 61.
22. The difference between ‘politics’ and ‘the political’ is shown in the fact that while the former refers basically to a type of action relative to power relationships, the political, from an analytical viewpoint, defines the specific nature of associative relations between individuals with respect to the authoritative allocation of values.The nature of politics is characterised by the defence needs (security) of individuals, which makes them aggregate in groups, which differentiate themselves from others in order to survive. Compared to this prime unfailing objective, the political is characterised by a tendency to use (legitimate) force in order to distribute the values that predominate in the historical and social environment in question. The level on which the political is carried out is determined by the state of aggregation of the single groups of individuals. The community becomes political when it gains the capacity to distribute values on the basis of a similarity of interests, which differentiate it from other groups. Social relations necessarily imply differences, and, in the modern and contemporary political sphere, this difference is pursued between large groupings, with the possibility of conflict.
23. See the entry Représentation,in O. Duhamel – Y. Meny,Dictionnaire constitutionnel, 1992, pp. 914 ff.”La representation est un processus par lequel quelque chose (personne(s),grouppe(s),chose(s) ou abstraction(s)) qui n'est pas réellment (c'est – à – dire physiquement) présent est rendu présent par un intermédiaire”.(p.914)
24. The term ‘political field’ is used in a specific way compared to the use found particularly the in the literature in French. For this specific view I refer to P. Bourdieu, La répresentation politique . Éléments pour une théorie du champ politique, in “Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales”,1981, nn.36/37, pp.3 ff. , but above all to Das politische Feld , in idem, “Das politische Feld .Zur Kritik der politischen Vernunft”, Konstanz, UVK,2001 (the conference was in 1999), pp.41 ff. For Bourdieu «Le champ politique est le lieu où s'engendrent, dans la concurrence entre les agents qui s'y trouvent engagés, des produits politiques, problèmes, programmes, analyses, commentaires, concepts, événements, entre lesquels les citoyens ordinaires, réduits au statut de « consommateurs », doivent choisir, avec des chances de malentendu d'autant plus grandes qu'ils sont plus éloignés du lieu de production.” The political field is the area where the world of political discourse has its limits, by choosing the possibilities of intervention and decisions on the part of the participants. For the specific notion of field, see Bourdieu, Lire les sciences sociales 1989-1992, Paris, Éditions Belin, 1994 ,volume 1, pp.326-329).
25. For example, those of G. Sartori, Representational Systems, entry in “International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences”, New York, Crowell-Collier, vol. XIII, pp. 465-74 and of A. Phillip, The Politics of Presence ,Oxford, Claredon ,1995, pp.14 ff.
26. See N.Zanon, Il libero mandato parlamentare : saggio critico sull'articolo 67 della Costituzione, Milano,Giuffrè,1991 and R. Scarciglia, Il divieto di mandato imperativo .Contributo a uno studio di diritto comparato, Padua, Cedam.2005.
27. In this paper the theories of legitimacy and sovereignty are basically overlapping, since the meaning of the noun sovereignty in general describes a situation of external autonomy and internal supremacy, which are historically linked to the modern contemporary State; specifically, the word involves instead the basic description of the ‘legitimization’ of political obligation. The two levels on which sovereignty operates, therefore, are intimately linked, but they must be distinguished one from the other, otherwise there is a risk that transforming the features of ‘sovereignty’ in the objective sense could be regarded as changing ‘sovereignty’ as legitimisation in an uncontrolled reciprocal process of attenuation. In effect, potestas not only has to be direct, but must also be legitimated in an explicit way by the consensus of the members of the group, by means of procedures which allow them to feel that the institutions belong to them, and to support them effectively. (F.Lanchester, Gli strumenti della democrazia, op cit., pp. 46 ff.).
28. G. Burdeau, Traité de science politique, tome IV, Les régimes politiques,Paris,LGDJ, 1952.
29. See F. Lanchester, Pensare lo Stato. I giuspubblicisti nello Stato unitario, Rome-Bari, Laterza, 2004.
30. See E. di Robilant, Rilevanza delle figure teoretiche e delle figure operative nella società complessa, ,in “Le radici storico-filosofiche della democrazia” , edited by R. Scalon, Torino, Trauben, 2006 , pp.45 ff; A.D'Atena, Forma Stato dalla piramide all'arcipelago, in ” Impresa e Stato “, n.33 (Paper at conference on “Le autonomie funzionali :le Camere di Commerci, problemi e prospettive ” CNEL 20 March 1996); A. Predieri, M.Morisi (eds.) L' Europa delle reti ,Torino, Giappichelli, 2001.
31. See B. De Jouvenel, Sovereignity. An Inquiry into the political good, Cambridge, UP,1957, pp. 173-174, which is actually quoting E. D'Ors, Coupole et Monarchie ,in “Le cahiers d'Occident”,VI,II series ,1926, pp.117 ff, then under the title Coupole et monarchie suivi d'autres études sur la morphologie de la culture ,Paris, Librairie de France, 1926.The fascinating image is given precise form and one is brought in mind of the palace of Charles V in Granada.
32. See F. Lanchester, La rappresentanza in campo politico e le sue trasformazioni, Milano , Giuffrè,2006.
33. Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1909, pp. 123 ff.
34. See F.Lanchester,La rappresentanza in campo politico e le sue trasformazioni, op.cit.

35. In 1953 the De Gasperi government was worried by the decreasing consensus towards the centrist parties, introduced a new electoral sustem for the House of Deputies, which awarded a majority to the formation or coalition of parties who obtained alt least 50.1% of valid votes in the elections. The law was called ‘the swindle law’, and was similar to the French so-called ‘loi scélérate’: on this point see F. Lanchester, Sistemi elettorali e forma di governo, Bologna,Il Mulino,1981.
36. See Standards in Public Life , First Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life Report , Cm 2850-I and in particular the section on “Ten Years after Nolan” in Parliamentary Affairs , 2006, n.3, pp.454 ff. (with contributions by A. Doig , M. Macaulay and A. Lawton and M. Denton which point out the effrects of the devolution process on the problem).
37. J. Bohman, Public Deliberation. Pluralism, Complexity, and Democracy, Cambridge, The Mit Press, 1996; J. Bohman-W.R e hg, (eds.), Deliberative De- mocracy. Essays on Reason and Politics, Cambridge, The Mit Press, 1997 (with various essays by Habermas, Elster, Rawls, Cohen, among others) and J.S. Dryzek, Deliberative Democracy and beyond. Liberal, Critics, Contestations, Oxford, UP, 2000 and Deliberative Democracy, special issue of The Journal Of Political Philosophy, in collaboration with Philosophy, Politics & Society, in Debating Deliberative Democracy, 2002, n. 2, pp. 125 ff.
38. See the comments on its limits already made by M. Bolognini , Modelli di democrazia elettronica ,in Impresa & Stato, 1998, n°s. 44-45, but now R.K.Gibson, A.Römmele-S.J.Ward (eds), electronic Democracy .Mobilisation ,organisation and Participation via new ICTs, London, Routledge, 2004, making a distinction between e-democracy and e-government “using the new information and communication technologies (ICT) to make the civil service increasingly faster, efficient and closer to the citizen”. Known also as cyberdemocracy, digital democracy or techno-democracy (and preceded by the illusion of teledemocracy) , the many-voiced nature of the telematic tools make it in fact possible to use it for participation, as well as control, but there is above all a risk of creating a virtual arena without any effective participation, censured and controlled from above.

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