“We are Not an Ethnic Vote!” Representational Perspectives of Minorities in the Greater Toronto Area Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractThis article examines the representational preferences of the represented, a perspective which has been largely neglected by political scientists in Canada. Using focus group interviews, I assess views of representation among three visible minority communities—black, South Asian and Chinese—within the urban and highly diverse setting of the Greater Toronto Area. Applying Hanna Pitkin's classic conceptual framework, I probe the multiple dimensions of political representation, examining the relative importance of its formal, descriptive, substantive and symbolic elements from minorities' perspective. Drawing on more recent advances in representational theory, I examine how minorities evaluate political actors' claims to represent them, and look at the “mobilizing objections” citizens raise in the face of such claims. Finally, I compare the three communities to assess similarities and differences in perceptions of representation along its various dimensions.

publication date

  • June 2015