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Constructing Minority Representation: Empirical-Theoretical Study

Loncar, Jelena (2017) Constructing Minority Representation: Empirical-Theoretical Study. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Performance and performativity are deeply entwined in political representation. This research explores the performance of minority representation – i.e., how representatives from ethnic minority backgrounds shape their positions and deliver their claims about and for minorities depending on the audience they address – and the performativity of their representative claims – i.e., how they contribute to the construction of ethnic identities and interests, which they purportedly merely describe or present. In doing so, the thesis reuses, tests and expands the increasingly influential theoretical understanding of representation as claim-making, while, at the same time, it effects a much-needed constructivist turn in the empirical study of the representation of ethnic minorities. In theoretical terms, the dissertation argues that the categories of descriptive and substantive representation remain essential to the study of minority representation. Its contribution to the theoretical literature is in reconceptualising these categories in line with the constructivist turn. The constructivist understanding of political representation has had considerable theoretical impact, but limited operationalization and empirical application. When applied to the study of group representation, the representation of gender has commanded attention. The thesis breaks new ground in applying it to the study of the representation of minority ethnic groups, a field in which the traditional understanding of representation as responsiveness to the pre-given demands and interests of constituents remains dominant. Focusing on two similar cases where ethnicity has been historically and institutionally constructed as a relevant feature to be represented in political forums, this thesis shows that rather than factors determining the behaviour of representatives, institutional and cultural backgrounds can be, and are often, deployed creatively as resources in the claim-making process whereby ethnic identifications are produced and reproduced over time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.727355
Depositing User: Jelena Loncar
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2017 13:33
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:23
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18673

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