According to the mainstream literature on political participation, declining rates of voting and party and interest group membership reflect a crisis of democracy in Western democracies. In this article, we challenge this view by highlighting the rise of alternative forms of political participation that operate outside formal arenas. We suggest that the mainstream approach ignores such forms of political participation for two reasons: First, it operates with a narrow arena definition of politics; second, it is based on the assumption that non-participation in arena politics results from political apathy. We suggest that there is not a crisis of political participation, but there is a growing crisis in engagement resulting from an uncoupling between citizens and the state. Halting this form of democratic decline through a recoupling process will require changes on the part of governments and citizens.
Recognizing the Democratic Potential of Alternative Forms of Political Participation
Brendan McCaffrie and Sadiya Akram
The Rise of Autocracy and Democratic Resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a new and unparalleled stress-test for the already disrupted liberal-representative, democracies. The challenges cluster around three democratic disfigurations: technocracy, populism, and plebiscitarianism—each have the potential to contribute to democratic decay. Still, they can also trigger pushback against illiberalism mobilizing citizens in defense of democracy, toward democratic resilience. This article looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic affects democratic decay and democratic resilience in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It finds varied responses to the COVID-19 crisis by the CEE populist leaders and identifies two patterns: the rise of autocracy and democratic resilience. First, in Hungary and Poland, the populist leaders instrumentalized the state of emergency to increase executive aggrandizement. Second, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, democracy proved resilient. The COVID-19 pandemic alone is not fostering the rise of authoritarianism. However, it does accentuate existing democratic disfigurations.
Lauri Rapeli and Inga Saikkonen
. “ Autocratization by Decree: States of Emergency and Democratic Decline .” University of Gothenburg, Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 85, 2nd Edition. Available at www.v-dem.net/media/filer_public/31/1d/311d5d45-8747-45a4-b46f-37aa7ad8a7e8/wp
Francesco Maria Scanni and Francesco Compolongo
international political system. Finally, models of political and party participation underwent a profound transformation ( Bianchi and Raniolo 2017 ). Interwoven into the democratic decline was a process of depoliticisation: a social, governmental and