Le Peuple Introuvable

Under democracy, ‘the people’ no longer has a form; it loses all corporeal weight and positively becomes a number, that is to say, a force composed of equals, of purely equivalent individualities under the rule of law. ... Society comprises only identical voices, completely substitutable, reduced in the founding moment of the vote to accounting units that collect in the ballot box; it becomes a pure arithmetic fact. The substance in this case disappears completely behind the numbers, compounding the effects of the abstraction related to a purely procedural construction of the social.

Henceforward, neither the people nor the nation have a sentient flesh. They will have to be constructed, with the double aid of political vision and intellectual development.
— Pierre Rosanvallon (my translation)

Le Peuple introuvable (Paris: Gallimard, 1998), 14-15.