Citizens’ Conceptions of Democracy and Political Participation in Germany
25 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 2, 2015
While extensive research focused on citizens’ disaffection and tools to cure the ‘democratic malaise’, very few studies paid attention to the connection between citizens’ preferences for democratic alternatives and their desire to get involved in new participatory procedures. To fill this gap and to advance the understanding of such a linkage, our paper aims to investigate how preferences of German citizens for types of democracy influence their retrospective as well as prospective involvement in political will formation and decision‐making. This paper discusses the conceptions of democracy and assesses the effects of these preferences on several types of political participation (voting, protests, referendums, deliberative procedures). Our study draws on data from a survey conducted in autumn 2014 on a probability representative sample at national level in Germany. Findings illustrate that citizens favoring representative democracy are less inclined to take part in participatory devices, whereas citizens favoring a citizen‐oriented concept of democracy are more willing to get involved in them. Those citizens who favor a more expert oriented democracy, show mixed participation intentions.
Keywords: conceptions of democracy, political participation, citizens, Germany
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