Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism by Pippa Norris

By Pippa Norris

Traditional knowledge means that voters in lots of international locations became disengaged from conventional political participation. Commentators spotlight indicators of sagging electoral turnout, emerging anti-party sentiment, and the decay of civic agencies. yet are those matters justified? This booklet compares systematic proof in approximately 2 hundred international locations all over the world and indicates purposes for wondering assumptions of decline. not just is the obituary for older kinds of political activism untimely, yet new different types of sleek civic engagement will be rising.

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Extra resources for Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism

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27 If institutional theories are correct, then we should find that the structure of the political system plays an important role in shaping dimensions of mass participation, such as cross-national levels of turnout, as well as patterns of party activism and association membership. The stability of political institutions appears to make this account less plausible as an explanation of change over time, yet alterations in the performance of political institutions can offer important insights here.

There remains considerable controversy, Theories of Political Activism 23 however, surrounding the political consequences of these changes, in particular the impact of human development on democratization and civic engagement. One difficulty is that the abstract concept of “societal modernization” encompasses so many different dimensions of social change that it can be a kind of Rorschach test, where different theorists see whatever they want to see. Social change contains crosscutting developments, some of which could possibly depress activism, while others seem likely to encourage civic engagement.

2 Theories of Political Activism The first task is to see whether there has been a systematic weakening of the channels of electoral, party, and civic activism. The second is to examine the most plausible explanations to account both for differences among nations and for trends over time. 1 This process is believed to have increased demands for more active public participation in the policy-making process through direct action, new social movements, and protest groups, while weakening deferential loyalties and support for traditional hierarchical organizations and authorities such as churches, parties, and traditional interest groups.

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