(New) political representative claims: a global view (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India)


(New) political representative claims: a global view
(Brazil, China, France, Germany, India)

January 9, 2017

EHESS, 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris 

The international research program “(New) political representative claims: a global view (France, Germany, Brazil, India, China)” (CLAIMS) is premised on the observation that Europe currently experiences a crisis of established forms of political representation, visible for example in increasing political distrust; indeed various claims to renew political representation are emerging, not only in Europe but all over the world. Yet most contemporary research on representation focuses on electoral/mandate representation within a single country; moreover, dynamics developing in the Global South, including non-democratic entities, are neglected by Western scholars. As a result, we lack comparative, global analyses of (new) “representative claims” (Saward 2010) developed outside the representative political system.
The CLAIMS project intends to address these research gaps by putting into perspective representative claims in France and Germany –two European democracies actively experimenting with new concepts of representation–, and in three BRICS states: India – the world’s largest democracy and a pioneer in electoral quotas (as a claim for descriptive representation) -, Brazil –the largest democracy in Latin America with innovative participatory devices including competing representative claims–, and China – a non-democratic regime engaged in a huge transformation with specific representative claims.
Building on German and French political theory, the project’s conceptual framework departs from standard ways of considering political representation. We argue that while mandate representation remains important, it fails to account for crucial contemporary developments. Our premise is that political representation is increasingly related to the (re)emergence of representative claims, i.e. situations in which an actor claims to speak/act in the name of others. Such claims are most often based on the denunciation of misrepresentation, which they pretend to correct.
In the five countries under scrutiny, we will identify different situations in which (seemingly) new representative claims are raised, criticized or justified. Our research will focus on two main research fields.

We will analyze: (i) representative claims at the national level raised during three national debates in each country; (ii) representative claims raised in two participatory devices at the sub-national level in each country. The project thus manifests a clear ambition to conduct research that is at the same time empirical and theoretical through a comparative perspective that gives a central place to “area studies” in the development of democratic theory.
This one-day conference will see a series of presentations, by the project’s team, regarding the proposed theoretical framework, methodological choices, and case studies. Each of these three dimensions of the project will then be commented upon by several experts. The launching conference will be followed by a three-day workshop (for the team only) dedicated to integrating the received feedback into our research program.




Venue: EHESS, 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris (Quai de la Gare subway station)

Room 638-640

Introduction 9.00-9.30

Brigitte Geissel (Goethe University, Frankfurt) and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal (Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CNRS-EHESS)

Part I. Theoretical Framework 9.00-12.30

Chair: Samuel Hayat (CNRS/CERAPS)

Brigitte Geissel (Goethe University, Frankfurt) and Yves Sintomer (Paris VIII University) –The claims project – Theoretical approach for developing a typology of (new) representative claims

Thomas Heberer (University of Duisburg-Essen) – Representation in an Authoritarian Context: The Case of China’s Private Entrepreneurs

Feedback: Dario Castiglione (Exeter University), Niraja Gopal Jayal (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi), Laura Montanaro (University of Essex)

(10:15-10:30 Tea/coffee break)


Part II. Methodological Framework and Representative Claim Analysis 14.00-16:00 

Chair: Virginie Dutoya (CNRS, Centre Emile Durkheim)

Emilie Frenkiel (University Paris Est Créteil-LIPHA) and Petra Guasti (Goethe University, Frankfurt) – Preliminary Methodological Framework

Feedback: Pieter de Wilde (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, WZB), Cécile Vigour (CNRS, Centre Emile Durkheim, Sciences Po Bordeaux), Shen Yongdong (University of Oslo/ Zhejiang University Hangzhou)


(16:00-16:30 Tea/coffee break)

Part III. Comparability of Cases 16.30-19.00 

Chair: Debora Rezende (Instituto de Ciência Política, Universidade de Brasilia)

Thomas Heberer and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal – Comparing (new) representative claims across 5 countries: Challenges and possibilities

Feedback: Catherine Achin (Paris Dauphine University, IRISSO), Markus Linden (Trier University), Leonardo Avritzer (Minas Gerais University), Marie-Hélène Vilas Boas (Nice-Sophia Antipolis University), Yu Jianxing (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou), Jean-Louis Rocca (CERI, Science Po Paris)





Representation and Representative Claims beyond Europe: Views from China (1) 9:00-10:00

Venue: EHESS, 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris (Quai de la Gare subway station), Room 638-640

Yu Jianxing (Zhejiang University) – New approach to Local Governments’ Innovations in the Xi Era


Chair: Thomas Heberer

Representation and Representative Claims beyond Europe: Views from China (2) 17:00-19.00

Venue: Science Po Paris, CERI, 56 rue Jacob (Saint-Germain subway station)

Conference room, ground floor.

Shen Yongdong, (Olso University/ Zhejiang University Hangzhou) – Retreat of the Administration and Advance of the Party: The Rebalancing Relation of the Party-State and Business Associations in China

Chair: Yves Sintomer, Emilie Frenkiel, Jean-Louis Rocca (Professor at Science Po Paris, CERI)


Corruption and Political Crisis in Brazil 17.30-19.00 

In partnership with l’OPALC-Sciences Po

Venue: Science Po Paris, IHEAL, 28 rue Saint-Guillaume,75007 Paris, (Saint-Germain subway station) Amphitheatre IHEAL (first floor)

Conference of Leonard Avritzer (Universidade Federal do Minas Gerais, Institut des Hautes Etudes d’Amérique Latine).

Introduction by Camille Goirand (CERAPS, IHEAL, université Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle).

Feedback: Olivier Dabène (CERI, Science Po Paris)

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