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Political Rrepresentation: the Mmechanism of Lliberation or the Ttechnology of Uusurpation?

The Key Problems ofmain problems of Ccontemporary Ppolitics

Within this course, we will consider several problems that are fundamental issues constitutive for both theoretical debates and political practice nowadays. Our goal is to demonstrate how political theory and sociological research can clarify the meaning of the “practical” political dilemmas and problems. Each topic is formulated as a question to be answered, or a problem to be solved. Within each class,Each session will be built around both theoretical discussion and we will consider not only theoretical texts but also empirical examples from sociological research or political debates. Discussing fundamental texts in political and social theoryTogether with the analysis of the text, we will also touch upondiscuss practical and immediate phenomena we see and experience in contemporary political life - contemporary social movements, political regimes, policy making, representation etc.


Introductory Ssession. What is the Ppolitical?

Is making a policy is a political action? Is politics just governance or it should involve conflict and public discussion? How it is related to other notions of political vocabulary – justice, equality, democracy, and legitimacy? What meaning did people assign to the political in different epochs? How did these understandings affect their lives? How do they affect our life today? Within this class, we will discuss various theoretical approaches to politics and the political. the notion of political and their implications for both research and political practice.

Mandatory reading:

Weber, Max (2015). Politics as a vocation in: Weber, Max (2015). Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society. Translated and Edited by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).

Arendt, Hannah (. 2006). On Revolution. Pinguin Classics. P. 21-28

Schmitt, Carl (2007). . The Concept of the Political. Expanded Edition, trans. by G. Schwab, Chicago: University of Chicago Press., 2007, pp. 80–96.

Kalyvas, Andreas (. 2008). Democracy and the Politics of Extraordinary: Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt. Cambridge. P. 1-16 (Introduction)


Ranciere, Jacques (2007). On the Shores of Politics. New York: Verso.

Political Rrepresentation: the Mmechanism of Lliberation or the Ttechnology of Uusurpation?

Within this class, we will consider the problem of political representation. Having roots in Christianity, political representation was born in Modern Europe. From this point onwards, it became an inevitable part of any political regime. Representation drives both democratic revolutions and authoritarian coup d’etats; representation is a real political mechanism and it is a cause inspiring collective action; it is principle organizing our society from top to down, from parliament to labor and civic organizations, and it is a notion justifying political systems. To clarify its diverse meanings and functions, We will discuss various definitions of this complex phenomenon. Then, we will compare different approaches to representation: sociological, philosophical, aesthetic, etc. Finally, we will focus on the polar opinions about “political function” of representation. Some researchers believe that representation is the instrument of oppression and alienation of those who are represented infrom politics. Their opponents, alternatively, claim that political representation from below is an effective and efficient tool of liberation of oppressed. people.

The first Ssession One. Political Representation. What is political representation? Who are represented? What is the relationship between the representing and the represented?

Mandatory reading:

Pitkin, Hannah (1967). “The concept of representation”. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. Ch. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8.

Recommended reading:

Skinner, Quentin (2005). “Hobbes on Representation.” European Journal of Philosophy 13: 155–84.

Powell G. Bingham (2004). “Political Representation in Comparative Politics.” Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 7 (2004), pp. 273-296.

Mansbridge, Jane. (2003). “Rethinking Representation” American Political Science Review 97 (4): 515–28.

Rehfeld, Andrew (. 2009). “Representation Rethought: On Trustees, Delegates, and Gyroscopes in the Study of Political Representation and Democracy.” American Political Science Review 103 (2): 214–30.

Perrin, J.A., and McFarland, K. (2008). “The Sociology of Political Representation and Deliberation.” Sociology Compass 2: 1228-1244.


The second Ssession Two. Political Representation: Oppression or Liberation? Within this session, we will touch upon the issues of oppression and liberation in the debate on political representation. Does a politician who speaks on behalf of me just usurps my voice to earn political capital? If so, do we need representation at all? Or there areAre there different modes and types of representation?, some lead to usurpation and some are causes worth struggling for? To clarify these questions, we will refer to key thinkers in the debate on political representation and discuss the question that is crucial not only for theory but also for the contemporary political debates. Is representation emancipating or oppressive?

Mandatory reading:

Bourdieu Pierre (1991).. “Political Representation: Elements for a Theory of the Political Field” from Language and Symbolic Power. Harvard University Press, 1991.

Dean Jodi (2012). . The communist Horizon. Verso, 2012, Ch. 6

Recommended reading:

Foucault, Michel and Deleuze, Gilles. A conversation in “Intellectuals and power” https://libcom.org/library/intellectuals-power-a-conversation-between-michel-foucault-and-gilles-deleuze

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1988). . “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1988. 271-313.

Dean Jodi, Jones James (2012). Occupy Wall Street and the Politics of Representation [Electronic resource] // Chto Delat. In defense of representation. 2012. ¹ 10 (34). URL: http://chtodelat.org/b8-newspapers/12—38/jodi-dean-and-jason-jonesoccupy-wall-street-and-the-politics-of-representation/ (date of access: 28.03.2014).

Dean, Jodi (2015). i. Crowds and the party. New York: Verso, 2015.

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