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Now you see it, now you don't: reconsidering the problem of representation

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The article reconsiders the problem of representation. Processes of representation, it is argued, not only take place in the arena of official politics, but are also being conducted in other social arenas, albeit in different forms. In order to understand the problem of representation faced by contemporary democracy, we must thus develop alternative approaches that proceed from a broad view of politics, that place more emphasis on the symbolic dimensions of politics, and that scrutinize the borderlands between politics and culture. In this article, a framework for such an approach to representation is presented, building on the traditions of both political and cultural studies. According to the approach outlined, representation may be viewed not only as an institutionally constrained praxis, but also as more generally applicable symbolic-communicative practices.
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Keywords: culture; politics; representation; symbolic communication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linkoping University, Norrkoping, Sweden

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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