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Participation and Representation in the Digital Age: Participation Repertoires in an Era of Unequal Representation

Project description

Investigating political participation and representation

In recent decades, there have been two conflicting global trends in democratic societies. The first is reduced voter turnout among lower-status groups. The second is increased nonelectoral political participation among higher-status groups. The EU-funded PRD project will assess how these trends in political participation affect representation. It will integrate new approaches for investigating the links between individuals’ participation repertoires and objective and subjective representational results. PRD will analyse separate surveys and harmonised datasets to identify participation repertoires, explore the connections between the political acts and political participators, and conduct innovative experimental studies using Twitter panel data and field experiments to identify interventions for more equal representational outcomes in the future.

Objective

This project addresses the question of how people incorporate increasingly prevalent nonelectoral political acts into individual-level repertoires of participation; and how well represented these different types of political participators are. At a time of growing concern about unequal representation in democracies, two conflicting global trends over the last several decades highlight the importance of these questions: a clear decline in voter turnout, especially among lower status groups; and evidence of increased nonelectoral participation, especially among higher status groups. To assess how these trends in political participation affect patterns of representation, PRD’s theoretical framework integrates new approaches for investigating the links between individuals’ participation repertoires (i.e. how individuals combine voting, protest, online activism) and objective and subjective representational outcomes.

PRD’s work packages employ a multi-method approach: “Political acts and political participators” (WP1) analyzes separate surveys and a harmonized dataset and includes methodological innovations using new techniques for identifying participation repertoires. “Participation-representation connection” (WP2) investigates the connections between the political acts and political participators analyzed in WP1 and representational outcomes, and integrates these findings with qualitative fieldwork with activists who focus on unequal representation. Finally, “Mobilizing and organizing low-status groups” (WP3) conducts novel experimental studies using Twitter panel data and field experiments to identify interventions with the potential to produce more equal representational outcomes in the future. By combining an original theoretical framework and methodological innovations, PRD will conduct a uniquely comprehensive empirical investigation of participation repertoires, with a focus on mechanisms that can reduce inequalities in participation and representation.

Host institution

BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV
Net EU contribution
€ 1 276 980,00
Total cost
€ 1 276 980,00

Beneficiaries (3)