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 Nordic Party Members: Linkages in Troubled Times, Edited by Marie Demker, Knut Heidar, and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

Online and Offline Political Participation in Romania

Presenter
Toma Burean
Babeş-Bolyai University
Authors
Toma Burean
Babeş-Bolyai University
Gabriel Badescu
Babeş-Bolyai University

Abstract
Online and offline political participation in Romania
Toma Burean and Gabriel Badescu

In January 2012, in several cities of Romania, people turned out to streets to protest. The protests were linked to the wave of movements such as the Indignados or Occupy Wall Street. The students were especially visible among protesters.
In this paper we evaluate who are the Romanians who take an active role in political life and what motivates them. Are there similar or different motivations for each type of political participation? What are the links between internet communication tools and participation?
Following several studies on political participation in new democracies, we assert that at the individual level the protests indicate manifestations of post materialist values focusing on the increased concern about the quality of the democratic process. Hence protesters express their critical view of the political system that translates into engaging in demonstrations. At the same time, we suspect that online activism has a positive effect on protest participation although the effects might be moderate. At the mezzo level contextual factors such as group of peers and a medium that is more civically active has positive contributions towards engaging in student protest participation.
We test our hypotheses with data from a general survey on participation in 2012, a university students survey from October 2012, as well as a set of interviews with informal protest leaders of January 2012 in Romania.
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