Dramatic changes are now occurring in the field of citizen involvement in politics. Participation is evolving and diversifying not only in terms of the most common forms, but also in terms of the type of actors involved, their reason and targets of actions. Developments in political science show that individuals and groups are increasingly engaging in political activity outside the nation-state and outside the traditional realm of politics (the three branches of government).

Established in 2004, the ECPR Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization provides a forum for different schools of participation research to meet, compare approaches, and develop new research strategies.

We build an active network of researchers who present their research at the ECPR Joint Sessions, General Conferences and other ECPR events. We are also offering our members a forum for exchanges on teaching political participation, including the construction of a “syllabus bank” on courses on citizenship involvement in politics and society and access on-line to papers presented at the ECPR Joint Session workshops and General Conference sessions that have been sponsored by the Standing Group.

The Standing Group gives room to a broad set of research questions related to individualized participation in politics, collective processes of organizing political demands and interactions between active citizens and their organizations on the one side and targets of their efforts and other affected groups on the other side. Scholars affiliated to the standing group represent different methodological perspectives ranging from quantitative to qualitative investigations and including studies based on mixed-methods approaches.

The main themes address diverse empirical and methodological aspects of participation and mobilization:

The plurality of participation and mobilization

  • The development and emergence of forms of participation: from conventional, formal and institutional to unconventional, informal and non-institutional
  • The overlapping, intertwining and competition amongst different forms of participation
  • The relationship between individual and collective forms of participation with a focus on self-reflexive processes of political responsibility-taking in participation
  • The role of political culture and political opportunity structure in the forms, issues, and magnitude of participation.

The territorial levels of participation and mobilization

  • The impact of Europeanization and globalization on the emergence of transnational forms of participation and on the transformation of local, regional and national forms of participation
  • The reconfiguration of political mobilization in the context of multi-level governance and transnational public spheres.

Mediation and communication processes in participation and mobilization

  • Communication processes at the individual and collective level of participation
  • Information and communication technologies in offline and online forms of participation
  • Local, national and transnational discursive opportunities as constraints and opportunities for participation.

Outcomes for participation and mobilization

  • The effectiveness and consequences of the different forms of participation and mobilization for individual citizens, for political systems and for policy implementation
  • The impact of forms of participation and mobilization on political inequalities, social exclusions, social cohesion and social capital
  • The elaboration of different democratic models in new forms of participation and mobilization.

Implications for theory

  • The links between participation’s political theory and operational theory
  • The role of political identities, risks, globalization, and citizenship theory on the issues and forms of participation and as mobilization agents.