Another insight about democratic representation that comes from theliterature on descriptive representation is the importance ofcontingencies. Here the work of Jane Mansbridge on descriptiverepresentation has been particularly influential. Mansbridgerecommends that we evaluate descriptive representatives by contextsand certain functions. More specifically, Mansbridge (1999, 628)focuses on four functions and their related contexts in whichdisadvantaged groups would want to be represented by someone whobelongs to their group. Those four functions are “(1) adequatecommunication in contexts of mistrust, (2) innovative thinking incontexts of uncrystallized, not fully articulated, interests, …(3) creating a social meaning of ‘ability to rule’ formembers of a group in historical contexts where the ability has beenseriously questioned and (4) increasing the polity’s de factolegitimacy in contexts of past discrimination.” For Mansbridge,descriptive representatives are needed when marginalized groupsdistrust members of relatively more privileged groups and whenmarginalized groups possess political preferences that have not beenfully formed. The need for descriptive representation is contingent oncertain functions.


Satisfied customers are saying