Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The most general connotation of the notion of responsiveness pertains—as a noun—to reactivity or sensitivity. Descriptively, it denotes the quality of being responsive to stimulation: as a dynamic process of reacting quickly. The adjective responsive refers to “answering, replying, and responding” as well as being “susceptible to the feelings of others.” In technology, the term is used to describe how quickly the system responds to user input. This entry analyzes in greater depth the meaning of the notion, points out the components of responsiveness and its foci, and discusses what its “causal links” are. The political meaning of responsiveness is rather faithful to all the foregoing meanings. Responsiveness in political science is closely related to concepts such as “representation,” “accountability,” “delegation,” and “representative government.” Many scholars consider the stable responsiveness of a government to the preferences of its citizens to be a fundamental feature of a representative democracy. Before disentangling ...