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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

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