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Who Elected Oxfam?
A Democratic Defense of Self-Appointed Representatives

$105.00 (C)

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108419369

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Non-elected actors, such as non-governmental organizations and celebrity activists, present themselves as representatives of others to audiences of decision-makers, such as state leaders, the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization. These actors are increasingly included in the deliberation and decision-making processes of such institutions. To take one well-known example, the non-governmental organization, Oxfam, presses decision-makers and governments for fair trade rules on behalf of the world's poor. What entitles such 'self-appointed representatives' to speak and act for the poor? As The Economist asked, 'Who elected Oxfam?'. Montanaro claims that such actors can, and should, be conceptualized as representatives, and that they can - though do not always - represent others in a manner that we can recognize as democratic. However, in order to do so, we must stretch our imaginations beyond the standard normative framework of elections.

    • Develops the concept of self-appointed representation with greater specificity than has ever been done before
    • Discusses the problem of democratic legitimacy in its own right, aside from electoral democracy and its institutions, distinguishing between organizational and discursive authority
    • Provides a useful set of distinctions between democratic, skewed, surrogate, and failed representative outcomes, ideal for those working on cases of self-appointed representation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Democratic representation isn't what it used to be, and now covers much more than elections. Laura Montanaro provides an authoritative and compelling guide to this new landscape of representation. She shows that it doesn't matter that nobody elected Oxfam; but that it matters enormously how Oxfam and other self-appointed representatives behave.' John Dryzek, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108419369
    • length: 178 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Democracy and its norms
    2. Self-appointed representation
    3. The dangers of self-appointed representation
    4. Non-electoral authorization and accountability
    5. Applying the theory
    6. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Laura Montanaro, University of Essex
    Laura Montanaro is Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, specializing in the gaps between democratic theory and practice, and between democracy's norms and outcomes.

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