Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Representation is understood as a one-way relation, running from the represented to the representation, which is to be judged in terms of its visual part-to part correspondence to what it represents. Transposing these ideas to the world of politics, we find a conception of political representation with which Thomas Hobbes would have been familiar. As conceptualised by Hobbes, representation is a self-conscious artifice, which produces an illusion of reality without deceiving the viewing public about its manufactured nature. The making of images is indispensable to the process of political representation on account of the figurative nature of our belief systems. As Hobbes explains, sovereign power has its ultimate seat in popular opinion. Hobbes's key insight is that representation in politics derives from representation in the theatre and is best understood as performativity, or interpretative action by an actor who performs the fiction of our unity into being.

Keywords: political representation; Thomas Hobbes



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Elements of Representation in Hobbes — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation