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The continuous expansion of citizen participation: a new taxonomy

  • Yannis Theocharis (a1) and Jan W. van Deth (a1)
Abstract

The repertoire of political participation in democratic societies is expanding rapidly and covers such different activities as voting, demonstrating, volunteering, boycotting, blogging, and flash mobs. Relying on a new method for conceptualizing forms and modes of participation we show that a large variety of creative, expressive, individualized, and digitally enabled forms of participation can be classified as parts of the repertoire of political participation. Results from an innovative survey with a representative sample of the German population demonstrate that old and new forms are systematically integrated into a multi-dimensional taxonomy covering (1) voting, (2) digitally networked participation, (3) institutionalized participation, (4) protest, (5) civic participation, and (6) consumerist participation. Furthermore, the antecedents of consumerist, civic, and digitally networked participation, are very similar to those of older modes of participation such as protest and institutionalized participation. Whereas creative, expressive, and individualized modes appear to be expansions of protest activities, digitally networked forms clearly establish a new and distinct mode of political participation that fits in the general repertoire of political participation.

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Corresponding author
*E-mail: yannis.theocharis@uni-mannheim.de
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