Research Seminar by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Pollak: The Politics of Political Representation

The International Relations Department at WVPU is delighted to announce the next lecture of its Politics and IR Research Seminar Series, which is providing a platform to WVPU's IR faculty and invited academic guests to discuss new scholarly output. The format is a classic one: 45 minutes presentation followed by a 30-45 minute Q&A session. 

The Politics & IR Research Seminar Series will continue on November 14th, 2018, with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Pollak presenting his current research: Making Present: The Politics of Political Representation.

The crisis of representative democracy is a commonplace in contemporary political debates. Considered as the dominant political form of the modern constitutional state in advanced industrial societies, representative democracy is increasingly seen as incapable of satisfying the demands of participation, recognition, and governance that come from society at large. Moreover, its institutional machinery is often regarded as inadequate to deal with the greatly intensified speed and complexities of decision-making in the politics of the global age. In different ways, populism and antipolitics, the dominance and personalization of executive power, societal self-regulation, and technocratic power all seem to challenge the traditional institutions, practices, and principles of representative democracy.
As suggested by the late Peter Mair, we are witnessing the hollowing out of representative democracy, insofar as the citizens are feeling disempowered and apathetic, while the political class has become increasingly insulated—all of which has led to ever greater and more desperate attempts by the political class to portray itself as similar to so-called ordinary people. In political theory, representative democracy, though generally regarded as the only viable form of democracy in large-scale societies, has been the direct and indirect object of criticism from many quarters, with the elaboration of alternative democratic models emphasizing in turn participation, deliberation, and agonism, while questioning the democratic nature of representation itself. The presentation will discuss those developments and present new perspectives on a very old question indeed: how to organize living together in a state?

The primary purpose of the Research Seminar Series is to offer a forum to faculty members and invited academics to present their work and receive comments and feedback from colleagues and students. For students this is an excellent opportunity to gather firsthand experience with ongoing academic debates and research, as well as academic working methods. 

Unless indicated otherwise, the Research Seminars will be held on Wednesdays, 2.00-3.30pm in room 0.16. 

As space is limited, please register at

The Politics & IR Research Seminar Series will continue in 2019 
with Franco Algieri, Iver B. Neumann, Mathias Jopp, Reinhard Krumm, Ralph Schöllhammer, Joachim Honeck & Anatoly Reshetnikov. 
Dates are going to be announced by the end of the year.