Who gets to judge?

Approaching non-elected representative claims from constructivist interest-group theory


  • Jessica Nuske University of Bremen




Constructivism, Interest Groups, Montanaro, Representative-claim, Saward, Strolovitch


Debates on the issue of representation have since long started to transcend elections and topographically bound constituencies by addressing self-appointed representatives in form of interest groups. However, with no elections and a mere claim to represent a constituency, who gets to judge and consequently authorises the claims and demands accountability? Deriving from Saward’s constructivist approach on the representative claim, this article introduces a revisited approach to interest groups by adjusting constructivism with respect to crucial insights derived from interest group theory, provided by Montanaro and Strolovitch. Building on this revisited approach, this article re-evaluates questions on who gets to authorise and account representatives and consequently presents a holistic constructivist framework not only on the nature of claim-based representation, but also on its potential and pitfalls. Additionally, it provides incentives for research on the disjunction between constituency and interest groups provoked by a (structural) occurrence of non-authorisation and non-accountability.

Author Biography

Jessica Nuske, University of Bremen

Jessica Nuske, from Oldenburg (Germany), is a graduate student, who received her Master’s degree in “Political Science” at the University of Bremen in 2019. She is currently working as research assistant at the Leibniz University Hannover and will begin her dissertational project focusing on interest group theory at the University of Bremen in April 2020. Her interests include theoretical and empirical approaches on interest groups, democratic theory and representation with focus on disadvantaged, intersectionally marginalized socioeconomic groups.


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How to Cite

Nuske, J. (2020). Who gets to judge? Approaching non-elected representative claims from constructivist interest-group theory. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 44, 7–25. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.44.1