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2020 ECPR Winter School in Methods & Techniques

The Changing Role of Citizen Engagement in Today’s Challenges: Participation, Movements, Protest

Civil Society
Political Participation
Social Movements
Political Sociology
Climate Change
Section Number
Section Chair
Felix Butzlaff
Vienna University of Economics and Business – WU Wien
Section Co-Chair
Joost de Moor
Stockholm University

This Section aims to bring together panels around current issues in the study of political participation and social movements. Scholars of democratic theory, participation, social movement mobilization and political parties have pointed to the fact that understandings and expectations of the (political) engagement of citizens are constantly evolving. As a consequence, pathways of critique and opposition to power assume new forms: movements and protests emerge and develop differently than they have in the past. The contemporary rise of right-wing populism as well as shifting movement landscapes and repertoires of political participation bear witness to these moving grounds. This ever-changing landscape of citizen participation demands ongoing research into who becomes active, why, how and to what effect. At the same time, citizen engagement is also hotly debated from various normative standpoints. Many theories of democracy consider citizen engagement to be the solution to multiple crises of democratic legitimation or efficiency. Others see it as a cause for democratic inequality, and point out that it can lead to decreasing democratic problem-solving capacities when the expectation of (direct) democratic influence by the people or social movement organizations make decision-making slow and consensus unlikely.

With this section we want to take a closer look at topics that enable to better understand citizen’s shifting demands for, and patterns of, participation, and how social movement organizations and other actors, including governments, media, and companies respond to these demands. We call for panels, which speak to both, the more established core interests in the study of political participation and social movements as well as the more recent or emerging areas of academic enquiry. In line with the scope of the standing group on participation and mobilization, this section particularly aims at bringing the literature on political participation and social movements closer together.

The panels in this section seek to explore several topics for which citizen engagement has long been highly relevant, or where their role has recently changed dramatically. We expect that such a topical focus will facilitate discussions that are empirically coherent and theoretically innovative.

Felix Butzlaff is an Assistant Professor at the Vienna University for Economics and Business and member of the steering committee of the SG on Participation and Mobilization.

Joost de Moor is a Postdoc at Stockholm University and convenor of the Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P030Blurring the Lines? The Movement-isation of Parties and the Institutionalisation of Movements View Panel Details
P092Do Social Movements Improve Democracy? Internal Democracy, Organisation and Individual Participation in Political Activism View Panel Details
P185It’s the Economy, Stupid: Political Economy, Activism and Democracy View Panel Details
P188Labour, Social Classes and Inequality View Panel Details
P191Lifestyle Politics: Between Politicisation and Depoliticisation View Panel Details
P297Populist Movements: A New Tale of Organising Emancipation through Movements? View Panel Details
P318Reframing the Engaged Citizen View Panel Details
P347Social Movements and the Politicisation of Diversity View Panel Details
P381The Expanding Repertoire of Political Participation: Causes and Consequences View Panel Details
P463Whose City? Claiming, Refusing, Redefining and Managing Participation at the Local Level View Panel Details
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