What is “Political” Participation

Beyond Explicit Motivations and Oppositional Actions

in Democratic Theory
Sadiya Akram Manchester Metropolitan University s.akram@mmu.ac.uk

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David Marsh University of Canberra David.Marsh@canberra.edu.au

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Wood and Flinders re-center political participation on the idea of “nexus politics.” The effort is laudable because it contributes to other ongoing efforts at broadening our understanding of the nature of ‘political’ participation. Unfortunately, in our view, the authors misspecify new forms of political participation that have emerged by: (1) failing to take Henrik Bang’s work seriously; (2) focusing exclusively on motivation/intention, so that an action is “political,” only if the person acting sees it as “political”; (3) seeing all political participation as necessarily oppositional.

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