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Stand-by citizens: a three level analysis of civic engagement
Örebro University, Department of Social and Political Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8311-0982
2007 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

International research into democracy has uncovered severe changes in patterns of political engagement and participation. Even political institutions such as political parties and voluntary organisations have undergone major alterations. Scandinavian democracies hitherto have been regarded as exceptionally stable and strong, due to their homogenous qualities of mass-based class politics, strong political parties, high degree of associationalism, peaceful labour market relations, and developed welfare policies. However, three official democratic audits recently revealed that Scandinavian democracies have also been severely affected by both exogenous and endogenous constraints. In addition, Scandinavian democracies appear to be diverging heterogeneously from the assumed ‘pan-Scandinavian’ model.

This paper presents a three-level study of conditions of active citizen participation in Swedish policy making. At individual level, focus group discussions with alleged most passive citizens as well as local leaders of various action groups and political parties expose complex motivations behind political orientations. At organisational level, interviews with leaders for new and old associations manifest crucial similarities regarding working methods, concepts of membership as well as concerning trust in political institutions. Third, at societal level, an ingenious (and voluntary) embeddedness of civil society in Swedish public sector is examined through analyses of budgetary and legally instructions.

Finally, two conclusions are discussed. The widespread blaming of citizens for being passive has to be reappraised in the light of a more dynamic and contextual understanding of the conditions for civic engagement in late modernity politics. Simultaneously, researchers ought to pay more attention to latent as well as contextual dimensions of political participation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3989OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-3989DiVA, id: diva2:138288
Conference
Cinefogo conference on “Citizen Participation in Policy Making”, University of the West of England, Bristol, February 2007
Available from: 2007-09-04 Created: 2007-09-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Amnå, Erik

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf