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Political Participation

Broadly defined, political participation refers to all voluntary activities by which ordinary citizens try to influence political outcomes. These activities cover such diverse forms as voting, taking part in campaigns and other organizational activities, contacting politicians, signing petitions, and attending demonstrations or participating in more confrontational protest events (such as occupations or sit-ins). While early empirical research on political participation in the 1940s and 1950s mainly focused on voting and electoral turnout, the repertoire of activities covered by empirical studies has expanded ever since. The topic is important, as political participation is essential for democracy and, therefore, is also a key topic for research interested in the quality and functioning of democracies. As Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady write in their ...

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