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Active civic participation


The scientific objective is to analyse the individual and societal factors that affect active civic participation. "Active civic participation" includes electoral and non-electoral participation and participation at national and supranational levels. W ithin this spectrum of civic participation, the project devotes special attention to participation in European Parliament elections and in referendums dealing with European issues. The project also aims to make policy recommendations designed to improve the extent and the quality of active civic participation. The resources needed to achieve the scientific and policy objectives include Sixth Framework funding and a programme of research co-operation with the European Commission and the European Parli ament that is designed to inject substantial scientific added value into the policy-oriented research efforts currently undertaken by the Commission and the Parliament. In pursuing the objectives just outlined, the research project will (1) identify the effects of four basic variables (gender, age, class and disability) on civic participation; (2) identify the effects of two key actors (political parties and the media) on civic participation, with particular reference to the effects of these two actors on participation in the European Parliament elections of 2004; (3) identify the effects on participation of the different socio-political contexts that characterise different European societies; and (4) identify the ways in which the three sets of vari ables just outlined interact and thus determine the level and quality of civic participation. Successful completion of this research agenda will constitute a major advance in our scientific understanding of the factors promoting and inhibiting active ci vic participation and provide the basis for designing policy responses with a high probability of making a difference.

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