What can be considered as political participation? This question remains central to contemporary political participation research (e.g., Collin 2009 ; Eklundh 2014 ; Flinders and Wood 2018 ; Grasso 2016 ; Norris 2002 ; Rowe and Marsh 2018
The Conventional, Unconventional, and Alternative
Beyond Explicit Motivations and Oppositional Actions
Sadiya Akram and David Marsh
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.
Declining adolescent political participation means that political education has become a pressing public and political issue. In response, much attention is being paid to the way in which political education offers meaningful reasons for individual political participation. Critical textbook analysis may help us understand how political education affects participation. To what extent do textbooks explicitly present justifications for political participation? What kinds of justification are offered? This article analyzes Norwegian social studies textbooks, and concludes that justifications of adolescent political participation are central. Justifications include the individual pursuit of preferences, individual duty in a "contract" with the state, and identities. However, these justifications are also questionable, for they are generally either individualistic or avoid real political movements.
Alternative forms of political participation that place little emphasis on traditional representative forms of democracy are becoming more prevalent. Typifying the shift from government to governance, forest certification provides important opportunities for political participation with local, national, and global influence. Using Pippa Norris's three dimensions of political participation—agencies, repertoires, and targets—this article explores political participation within the practice of forest certification. The article highlights how traditional and alternative forms of political participation do not act as a dualism and instead occur simultaneously in practice due to historical, spatial, and practical influences.
Indigenous rights and political participation in Venezuela
. 186–187 ; 2012, pp. 290, 294 ), these legal instruments include rights such as the right to health, education, and political participation, which generate and favor the dependence of native societies on the Venezuelan nation-state. Whereas there are
Recognizing the Democratic Potential of Alternative Forms of Political Participation
Brendan McCaffrie and Sadiya Akram
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.
Results from a Survey Experiment about Tuition Fees
Emma A. Bäck, Hanna Bäck, and Gema Garcia-Albacete
People may engage in protest activity either because of collective incentives or selective incentives, or a combination of them. In this study we focus on the selective incentives part of the calculus of political participation, particularly the impact of the social dimension. We hypothesize that people will participate in demonstrations or other forms of protest, to a higher extent if they are afraid of rejection, but only if they feel that they have high social support for their own position. This hypothesis was supported in an online survey experiment where social support was manipulated. Results also revealed that individuals who were highly rejection sensitive were among the most likely to participate even though they did not believe protest activity to be an efficient way to bring about social change. This supports the notion that some individuals tend to engage in protest activity for purely social reasons. However it is still unclear whether these individuals are driven by an approach motivation to establish new social bonds or an avoidance motivation to escape possible social rejection.
Suzanne Graham and Victoria Graham
English abstract: Apart from Mauritius, five of the six African small island developing States (ASIDS) are relatively new to democracy with several only transitioning from one-party states to multiparty states in the early 1990s. Goals 13 and 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are priority goals for the ASIDS. Given that one of the key tests of a healthy democracy is the depth of civil society, this article seeks to examine the quality of political participation in the ASIDS in relation to these two priority SDGs. In so doing, this article considers conventional and nonconventional forms of participation and the potential impact these different avenues for a public “voice” might or might not have on the ASIDS’ government management of climate change and marine resources.
Spanish abstract: Excepto Mauritius, los otros cinco pequeños estados insulares africanos en desarrollo (ASIDS en inglés) recién incursionan en la democracia; algunos de ellos transitan de estados con un solo partido a estados múlti-partidistas a principios de los años noventa. Los objetivos 13 y 14 de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sustentable (ODS) son prioritarios para los ASIDS. Considerando que una prueba de democracia sana es una sociedad civil robusta, este artículo examina la calidad de la participación política en los ASIDS en relación con estos dos ODS. El artículo considera las formas convencionales y no convencionales de participación y el impacto potencial que estas distintas vías de “voz” pública pueda tener en el manejo del cambio climático y los recursos marinos de las ASIDS.
French abstract: A l’exception de l’île Maurice, cinq des six petits états îles en dévelopement (PEID) d’Afrique sont relativement nouveaux en matière de démocratie dans la mesure où certains ont uniquement transité du parti unique au multipartisme au début des années 90. Treize des quatorze ODD sont prioritaires pour les PEID. En partant du constat qu’une des preuves clefs d’une démocratie saine réside dans l’amplitude de la société civile, cet article cherche à examiner la qualité de la participation politique dans les PEID en relation avec deux ODD prioritaires. Ainsi, l’article considère des formes de participation conventionnelles et non conventionnelles ainsi que leur impact potentiel sur une expression publique en particulier, à savoir l’existence d’une gestion gouvernementale des PEID d’Afrique en matière de changement climatique et de ressources marines.
This article focuses on four areas in which there have been putative changes in democratic practices and processes over the last two decades: decline in, or changing forms of, political participation; the growing power of the corporate sector; the decline in state capacity and, relatedly, the problems of producing what is considered by some to be successful policy; and the growth of depoliticization and anti-politics. The article argues that while not all has changed, these are important, and worrying, developments. Subsequently, the article briefly examines possible ways in which we might re-engage citizens and recouple the government and citizens. Given space-limitations, this piece is best viewed as an informed argument.
The Role of the Proto-Political Sphere in Political Participation
Pia Rowe and David Marsh
While Wood and Flinders’ work to broaden the scope of what counts as “politics” in political science is a needed adjustment to conventional theory, it skirts an important relationship between society, the protopolitical sphere, and arena politics. We contend, in particular, that the language of everyday people articulates tensions in society, that such tensions are particularly observable online, and that this language can constitute the beginning of political action. Language can be protopolitical and should, therefore, be included in the authors’ revised theory of what counts as political participation.