Jane Mansbridge’s (1999) “contingent ‘yes’” amplified a chorus of voices discussing the substantive and symbolic functions of historically marginalized groups’ presence in political office. In her essay, Mansbridge points to contexts of mistrust and uncrystallized interests as domains where presence enhances “adequate communication” and “innovative thinking” for these social groups (628). In this and many other accounts, the linchpin between descriptive and substantive representation for these functions is group members’ shared experiences, alternatively framed as the perspectives informed by those experiences. Shared experiences cannot and do not produce identical effects (they are filtered through many lenses), but they are widely understood to inform and indeed often to authenticate political representation.
Politics & Gender
Published in Politics & Gender, 2023
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Xydias, Christina. "Why Theorizing and Measuring Shared Experience in Descriptive Representation Is “A Mess Worth Making”." (2023) .