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Lecture

Participation


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL201Y1
Professor
Sophia Moreau

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PARTICIPATION
Liberal democracy is used as though it were a single unit, but liberalism and
democracy are not the same and one can exist w/o the other. Democracy about rights
and freedom and democracy is about
Illiberal democracy exists as well, in which rights and freedoms are not respected but
you may still have elections
Liberalism existed before democracy, it vests sovereignty in the people but also places
limits on who counts as the people and establishes a boundary b/w/ public and private
Its about limiting power, it rests power from monarchy and vests it in the people, they
are concerned that democracy is a very radically egalitarian idea, that if people have
the political voice is they will redistribute economic power ** main concern of
liberals
Liberalism is about setting limits on that power to the people a conservative idea.
Classical liberalism enshrined, equality before the law and equal rights but not
Participation is not a Paradox:
Who thinks it is and why?
Rational Choice Theorists: wouldnt everyone sit around and benefit from public
good w/o working towards it
If it is a public good you will get that good anyway so it is not rational to participate
It become imperative to explain why people participate
Why participate? (According to authors survey)
They are looking for what types of benefits flow from the activism, what kinds of
different benefits they get from different activities
Selective Benefits:
-Benefits you get only if you participate
Expressive benefits:
-the activism itself is a benefit
-the activism is fun and I get to meet people ( not a physical benefits)
2 Types of Gratification:
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A. Selective Gratification: compatible w/ rational choice perspective (not only
concerned with the outcome, but also the gratification you will get while working on a
goal)
1. Selective Material Benefits: a personal problem to be fixed for themselves by
approaching whatever level of policy making bodies
2, Selective Social Gratification:
3. Selective Civic Gratification: Satisfy a sense to contribute
B. Collective Policy Outcome
Cannot be compatible with rational choice theorists
The collective action problem: everyone makes that choice to sit around so nothing
really happens
Most people do not sight material benefits as a reason for participating (low reason)
Selective social gratification is important to social types of participation, then the
social aspect of it is important to people (protesting during campaigns)
Civic gratification is high for all forms of voluntary participation, these norms are
probably embedded in American civic culture
Still its important to embed this civic responsibility in citizens, for civic life and
politics that people feel this way, yielding a participant society
When people engage in activities with intended with policy outcomes, they identify
collective policy outcomes as an important motivation for participation. Thus, MANY
people participate irrationally ( this is not compatible with RC Theorists) this was the
finding of the authors survey
Free riders:
How do People Participate? What work do they do?
Having established people participate politically look at the ways
Institutionalized Participation-inside the system
Main participatory moment in a democratic society is the elections, translating the will of
the majority into a government
This type of participation is temporally limited by time, once every 2,3,4,5 years
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