Left and Right and Beyond: Analyzing Representative Claims in the Czech Republic

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WMP Yudowitz Seminar Room 1 (University of Glasgow)
Petra Guasti , Goethe University Frankfurt
In recent years, the study of representation has been enjoying significant revival and transformation leading some authors to coin the term ‘representative turn’ in democratic theory. While the traditional representation literature focused on procedural aspects of representation, the ‘representative turn’ authors go beyond the formalistic notion of representation, apply constructivist approach and concentrate on the constitutive features of representation. In this paper, the representative claim is defined as ‘a claim to represent or to know what represents interests of someone/something' (cf. Saward 2010: 38). This paper focuses on the newly emerging claims of representation, their justifications, and frames. It combines Saward’s theoretical approach, with discourse and frame analysis. By discursively deconstructing claims it seeks to identify variation of justifications and frames used by different actors (elected, delegated, and self-appointed representatives), in different arenas (state institutions, media). This approach is tested by examining the ongoing discussion on LGBTQ rights (2005-2016) and the refugee crisis (2015-2016) in the Czech Republic. Comparison of claims within the two selected cases will allow the author to test the extent to which the left-right and TAN-GAL distinctions are relevant for the analysis of party politics and the public discourse in the Czech Republic. The similarities between claims and frames applied by elected representatives on these issues hint to the growing irrelevance of the left-right continuum, and the need to introduce alternative approaches to the analysis of CEE politics.