Saturday, May 26, 2007

What is Andrew Rehfeld reading?

Andrew Rehfeld is the latest contributor to Writers Read.

Rehfeld is the author of The Concept of Constituency: Political Representation, Democratic Legitimacy, and Institutional Design, which "asks whether liberal democracies are justified in using residency to define electoral constituencies for their national legislatures. US citizens, for example, are represented in Congress by where they live. The book explains the history of the territorial district in the United States, demonstrating that electoral districts at the founding were never intended to translate local interests into national policy (as they arguably do now) but rather were meant to defeat localism and particularity. Arguing for particular principles of republican deliberation, accountability, and stability, extremely large territorial districts have little justification today. Rather than promoting group or proportional representation, Rehfeld suggests that we randomly assign citizens into national, non-territorial electoral constituencies for life."

Jacob T. Levy wrote that "Rehfeld presents a surprisingly powerful argument for breaking the power of gerrymandering.... [P]eople ought to be thinking about both his proposal and his arguments about constituency more generally in trying to understand what to do about the American gerrymandering mess."

Visit Writers Read to see what Rehfeld has been reading outside his scholarly research.

The Page 69 Test: The Concept of Constituency.

--Marshal Zeringue