Democratic Incongruities: Representative Democracy in Britain

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Representative democracy in Britain does not work. Or more accurately, its critics argue that it does not work as theories of representative democracy would lead us to expect. If the starting point for understanding is taken to be a 'standard model' of representative democracy then that model does not get us very far. Yet it is precisely such a model that modern British governments continue to use to legitimate their actions.

Democratic Incongruities explains why the standard model is deficient, why recent 'reconceptualisations' of democracy and representation come with their own problems, and why theory and political practice have to address the 'inclusion-exclusion paradox' at the core of representative democracy. The fundamental question posed in this book is of the compatibility – both ideationally and practically – of representation with democracy. The answers are found in an examination of a series of 'problems' associated with this paradox in the context of British politics: of 'the people', of the representational transmission of power; of elected representatives; of representative government (specifically the Westminster model); and of citizen participation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHoundmills
Number of pages240
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2014


  • representative democracy
  • UK
  • British politics


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