Theory of political participation in complex, large, or modern societies.

The only way in which most people can participate in the government of their societies is by being represented by a relatively small number of people who will in some sense act on their behalf. There is disagreement about the most appropriate way in which this representation should take place, or the representatives be selected.

David Miller et al., eds, The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)

Law and politics

  • Representation (politics), political activities undertaken by elected representatives, as well as other theories
    • Representative democracy, type of democracy in which elected officials represent a group of people
  • Representation, in contract law a pre-contractual statement that may (if untrue) result in liability for misrepresentation
  • Labor representation, or worker representation, the work of a union representative who represents and defends the interests of fellow labor union members
  • Legal representation, provided by a barrister, lawyer, or other advocate
  • Lobbying or interest representation, attempts to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials
  • “No taxation without representation”, a 1700s slogan that summarized one of the American colonists’ 27 colonial grievances in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution
  • Permanent representation, a type of diplomatic mission

Arts, entertainment, and media

  • Representation (arts), use of signs that stand in for and take the place of something else
  • Representation (journal), an academic journal covering representative democracy
  • Depiction, non-verbal representation through two-dimensional images (pictures) of things seen, remembered or imagined

Cognitive science

  • Representation (psychology), a hypothetical ‘internal’ cognitive symbol that represents external reality
  • Knowledge representation, the study of formal ways to describe knowledge
  • Representation theory (linguistics), a theoretical framework in generative linguistics


  • Representation (mathematics), a very general relationship that expresses similarities between objects
  • Group representation, describes abstract groups in terms of linear transformations of vector spaces
  • Lie algebra representation, a way of writing a Lie algebra as a set of matrices in such a way that the Lie bracket is given by the commutator
  • Multiple representations (mathematics education), ways to symbolize, to describe and to refer to the same mathematical entity
  • Representation of a Lie group, a linear action of a Lie group on a vector space

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