According to many observers, institutions of representative democracy currently undergo a deep crisis. Not only has the delegation of competences from the national to the supra-national level ‘hollowed out’ the functioning of democratic institutions. Also demands for more citizen participation, for direct democracy or more inclusive planning processes pose important questions about the future of representative democracy. This seminar will combine theoretical discussions about principles of representative democracy with empirical research on the practice of representation. We will study parliaments, parliamentary elites and the potential of democratic innovations. The seminar will give an overview about the Germany parliamentary system and discuss research on legislatures in a comparative perspective. Literature: Hanna Pitkin (1967). The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: The University of California Sonia Alonso, John Keane, Wolfgang Merkel (eds.). (2011). The future of representative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Shane Martin, Thomas Saalfeld, Kaare Strøm (eds.) (2014) The Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.