Impossible but Real, Real but Impossible.
The Question of Representation of Civic Interest Groups
According to several scholars the idea of a representative role of citizens’ organizations is a contradiction: since representation is by definition making present someone that is absent, when civil society get organized and act in the public arena there is no need for representation. This argument, however, is put under question by several empirical evidences: self-organized citizens that act in the public arena exert the roles of «standing for» and «acting for», which are the hard core of the concept of representation. Moreover, this role is widely recognized by public and private interlocutors of active citizenship organizations. On the other side, the matter that this representative role is practiced and recognized does not avoid short circuits and paradoxes that seem impossible to overcome in the framework of the representation Standard View. Adopting as point of reference the recent literature on «non-electoral» and «informal» forms of representation and in particular, the redefinition of the issue set up by Dario Castiglione and Mark Warren, the author proposes a thematization that could give reason for this contradiction and offer suggestions on the way to address it.