A "New and Improved" Theory of Representation: Institutionalized "Conflicts of Interest"
The challenges presented by representation theory are grounded in the nature of representation itself. The path to effective representative government is through a labyrinth of theories, modes, and practices. The ideal of representative democracy fuses multiple concepts of representation, a variety of modes and practices that generate representation, and a host of political players acting in a representative capacity. It demands a recognition of a variety of understandings of representation; from the formalism of voting, to a legislature that is descriptive of society, to representative relationships, to the activity of government, which must correspond to the needs and wishes of the represented. It acknowledges the preferences of individual citizens while simultaneously promoting shared interests. It operates on multiple levels, as individuals and collectivities participate officially in the selection of leaders and informally in the petitioning of those leaders. Finally, it transpires only through intermediate structures of representation, namely political parties and associations of a variety of stripes and colors. Ultimately, the nature of representation requires systematic