Goethe-Göttingen Workshop

September 26, 2019

Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser
und multiethnischer Gesellschaften
Hermann-Föge-Weg 12 · 37073 Göttingen

Representative democracies, even the most inclusive ones, have populations that are explicitly or implicitly excluded from the ordinary process of electoral representation. Children are generally disenfranchised, as are asylum seekers and non-citizen residents. Persons with mental handicaps may be disenfranchised, too, or not afforded the necessary support to be able to participate politically. Irregular conditions of residence may, furthermore, prevent homeless or nomadic citizens from enrolling as voters. Nor do expatriate citizens fit easily into schemes of representation that rely on geographic constituencies.
Within democratic theory these issues have not been fully addressed. It remains poorly understood and/or controversial whether such marginalized populations have a claim to representation, and whether representation itself is the right response to non-or misrecognition.
In this workshop, we wish to closely examine the value of representation for marginalized populations and interests. How can we both deepen and widen the meaning and practices of representation in order to include those who lack voice, consideration,  and political power over decisions that affect them? On what grounds should we open legislatures to people who are not citizens, those who are deemed unable to be full citizens, or those who are not present on the national territory? What would be the appropriate institutional forms for representing these populations? If enfranchisement is not a viable solution, what proxies are available to bolster the legitimacy of existing processes and institutions for democratic deliberation and decision making?

Contact: Marina Adomeit, Fon: +49 (551) 4956 - 108, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Program (pdf): Click here...


Regina Schidel (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)
“Political Representation of the Severely Mentally Disabled”

Benjamin Boudou (MPI)
“The Construction of Representative Claims for Migrants”

Coffee break

Marcus Häggrot (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)
“Two Models of Expatriate Voting, Two Conceptions of Parliamentary Representation”

Ali Emre Benli (MPI)
“Political Rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the EU”


Dominic Roser (Universität Freiburg)
“A ‘Council of the Unrepresented’: A Joint Institution for Future Generations, Animals, Small Children, the Severely Mentally Disabled (and more)?”

Concluding remarks and discussion

The Workshop is part of the project "No Alternative? Challenges to Democracy Today". For further information: Click here...


Presented by:
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen and the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders". Cosponsored by Max Planck Fellow Group in Comparative Constitutionalism


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