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The Representative Disconnect: diagnosis and strategies for rectification

The REpresentative DIsconnect: diagnosis and strategies for RECTification (REDIRECT) is a four-year research project funded (€3 millions) by the Horizon Programme (and UKRI for the Exeter participation). It aims is to enhance our understanding of the current transformations of representative democracy in Europe at national and supranational level, assessing whether the centre of gravity of democratic representation is shifting away from the traditional forms of political intermediation, such as parties, parliaments, and party-based government, towards other forms of political representation. Its focus is on the representative disconnect, a multidimensional phenomenon of regression of the demos-kratos linkage involving institutional, behavioural and affective components, which risks undermining the trust in and legitimacy of the overall system of democratic representation. The two main questions REDIRECT addresses are: a) what are the nature, scope, aspects and causes of the representative disconnect; and b) how can the current representative disconnect be addressed, ameliorated, and/or rectified? The Exeter team comprises Dario Castiglione, Lise Herman, Oliver James, Alice Moseley, and Andrew Schaap. Dario and Andy will work on the more theoretical aspects of the project, while Lise, Oliver and Alice will study the role that Citizens’ Assemblies can play in the changing ecology of political representation. The project comprises seven international partners, from Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Norway, Poland, and the UK.


Representation and the Invention of Modern Politics
Interview with Professor Alfio Mastropaolo

As part of the Horizon-funded REDIRECT project, Andrew Schaap (Exeter) interviews Prof Alfio Mastropaolo (Turin) about the chapter on ‘Representation and the Invention of Modern Politics’ in his recently published book (in Italian): Making War by Other Means: Sociology of Democratic Government (2023).

Seminar by Professor Barbara Allen, Carleton University, Senior Research Fellow at Ostrom Workshop (Indiana University):

"Disinformation and the Vulnerabilities of Democracies: An Ostromian Perspective"

Seminar by Professor Luca Verzichelli, CIRCaP, University of Siena, Coordinator EU Horizon REDIRECT Project:

"Empirical Dimensions of Political Representation: What we have learned from surveys. What we have neglected."

Online Workshops

On 29 February 2024, The REDIRECT online workshop explored the issue of inclusion/exclusion in representative democracy, in conversation with Professors Suzanne Dovi (University of Arizona) and Petra Meier (University of Antwerp), chaired by Dario Castiglione (Exeter) and Eline Severs (VUB).

The workshop on 9 February focused on "Modern Representative Democracy: Origins, nature, and Principles – State of the Debate". We explored the issue of Modern Representative Democracy from both historical-institutional and philosophical-conceptual perspectives. The conversation was guided by the reflections of Professors Céline Spector (Paris Sorbonne) and Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University, NY), and chaired by Dario Castiglione (Exeter University).

Workshop on “Representative Democracy: The Early Modern Formative Period”

This workshop is organized by the Centre for Political Thought and connected to the European Horizon REDIRECT project. Although the research project is about the current state of representative democracy, the workshop we have organized is of a more historical character, and focussed on the early modern emergence of concepts, practices and institutions of democracy and representation. None of the presenters are linked to the research project. They presented their own work on some of these ideas. 

  • Session 1: "Representation" Alan Cromartie (University of Reading): The Word ‘Represent’: 1300-1649 
  • Session 2: "The People" James Harris (University of St. Andrews): The People and the Multitude: Pufendorf and Locke in Reply to Hobbes
  • Session 3: "Democracy" Cesare Cuttica, (University of Helsinki): Studying Early Modern Democracy: Questions and (a Few) Answers. Markku Peltonen (University of Helsinki): Early Modern Democracy: Three Approaches