The Politics of Voter Presence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By focusing only on the composition of representative bodies, the traditional ‘politics of presence’ approach has inadvertently diminished the value of participation for representation. It overlooks that there exist ‘elite voters’ who reinforce discrimination against abstainers at the policy level and create obstacles for improving the lives of the marginalized. We offer a remedy to persisting patterns of political exclusion by arguing in favour of a ‘politics of presence’ at the polls. This requires high and socially diverse turnout that will make representation more inclusive, broader and qualitatively different; it will be more descriptive, not of group characteristics, but of the interests, opinions and ideas of voters. Our alternative is a fusion of descriptive and substantive representation: ‘descriptive responsiveness’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Free keywords

  • descriptive representation
  • voter turnout
  • the politics of presence
  • descriptive responsiveness
  • voting rules


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