Co-instituting the Constituency

The Constituencies of Brexit and Ghislaine Leung’s CONSTITUTION

  • Calvin Duggan


Traversing cultural studies and political theory, this paper asks how any representative is to represent a diverse constituency, given that any constituency is necessarily co-instituted—that is, made up of—multiple and conflicting bodies and interests. Arguing that the term has suffered from a deficit of enquiry within the theoretical and critical humanities, this article thus aims to re-figure the concept of constituency. The specific understanding of constituency formation within the context of British political system, something especially visible in the wake of the EU referendum and its aftermath, highlights that constituencies are understood within this context through an atomic logic—that is, that each constituency is made up of individual constituents. Thinking with the notion of constituent power allows for a better understanding of the co-instituted nature of constituencies: how and by whom they are co-created. This, in turn, undermines any understanding of political representation as a merely bi-directional practice between representative and constituency. Finally, a close reading of Ghislaine Leung’s CONSTITUTION helps probe further both a bi-directional account of constituency formation and the notion that constituencies are themselves atomically structured, upsetting set theory in the process and allowing us to better apprehend the co-constitutive relationship between constituency and constituent.


How to Cite
Duggan, Calvin. 2019. “Co-Instituting the Constituency”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 29 (December).