Political representation by civil society.


Democratic reforms have produced new spaces in which civil organisations engage in representation of sectors of the population. The forms of political representation practised by civil society (collective) actors such as NGOs, neighbourhood and community associations and non-profit service providers, differ from more conventional forms of representation thus destabilising long-standing ideas about democratic legitimacy.

Research conducted in Brazil by the Centre for the Future State explored the range of concepts of representation that civil organisations use to justify their roles. Promisingly, the most common form of representation claimed by civil organisations, that of 'mediation', is the most compatible with democratic norms and existing, more conventional, representative institutions.


Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK, 4 pp.

Political representation by civil society.

Published 1 January 2010