This article examines the new forms of political representation civil organizations have been constructing in their relation with the State, as well as some of the possible consequences for the quality of democracy. There are no historical or theoretical established models of representation which would enable one to explore how civil organizations, in the absence of the mechanisms of elections or formal membership, could construct their political representativeness. That is precisely why political representation by civil organizations has received little attention despite its growing importance. Extensive fieldwork in São Paulo has revealed that political representation by civil organizations is closely connected to the dynamics of institutions of representative democracy. Furthermore, it reveals that, alongside notions of representation that are clearly irreconcilable with democratic norms, a new notion of representation has emerged among civil organizations, which is specifically political and compatible to democracy.
Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais 21 (60): 43-67, paper in Portuguese with English and French summaries, Title translation: ‘Political representation and civil organizations: new instances of liaising and the challenges of legitimacy’.