Agents of the People by Pasi Ihalainen

By Pasi Ihalainen

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Urbinati, like the other two theorists, makes use of eighteenth-century political thinking in her contribution to the theoretical debate on the nature of popular sovereignty, representation and democracy today. She actually turns eighteenth-century authors into participants in a universal debate and objects of criticism in her defence of representative democracy. Urbinati’s work demonstrates that there were several competing ways of conceptualizing sovereignty, representation and democracy in the late eighteenth century.

21 Lagerroth 1934, 6/2, 71, 74–78, is based on Lagerroth 1915. 22 The other estates also took their time, particularly as motions could be amended only by the original proposers, and much time was spent reading out reports and minutes and receiving delegations from the other estates. 23 In the Burgher Estate, this meant that a member might make as many as fourteen speeches during a single debate. In Sweden, the division between the Senate and the opposition was not quite clear-cut, even though party divisions did guide the allegiance of individual speakers, and this meant that a wide variety of viewpoints were expressed in the debates.

The choice of discussion topic and the order of the debate effectively structured what could be argued by 15 Black 2001, 225–226. See Tilly 1997, 246–248. According to Tilly, Parliament became the object of ordinary people’s attention, and the same issues could be debated by Parliament and the people. 17 Jupp 2006, 226, 229, 264. 18 Cf. Steinmetz 1993, 65, and Reid 2000, 122–134, according to whom it was rather the rise of the public sphere that affected parliamentary discourse so that negotiations were replaced by a new form of public speaking.

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