Citizens increasingly engage with political issues in new ways
by addressing politicians via social media, campaigning at international
forums, or boycotting corporate entities. These forms of engagement
move beyond more regulated electoral politics and are rightly celebrated
for the ways they increase representation and provide new channels of
accountability. Yet, despite these virtues, political engagement beyond
voting inevitably tends to entrench and amplify inequality in citizen
influence on political decision-making. The tendency toward inequality
undermines relational equality between citizens and muddies the channels
of political accountability and responsibility. This article unpacks
the ostensible tension and argues that it reveals to us another strength in
views which hold the state to be citizens’ collective project and provides
argumentative resources to motivate democracies to give due attention
to ensuring that democratic participatory channels remain fit for purpose
in an ever-changing society.
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