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Political Participation

Citizens In Want of Stamina

Sina Odugbemi's picture

This is the age of hopeful citizens where in almost every part of the globe citizens are mobilizing, marching and, often successfully, pushing for change. But this is also the age of increasingly frustrated citizens. In some cases, the frustration is occasioned by the failure to achieve changes in regimes even after an astonishing sequence of heroic efforts and sacrifices by citizens. In other cases, the efforts originally appeared successful. Long-entrenched dictators fell and citizens were ecstatic, believing glorious days were imminent. Yet, in many of these cases, one disappointment is jumping on top of another. Change is proving far more difficult to achieve; it is even proving elusive.

Civil Society: To What Purpose?

Shanthi Kalathil's picture

"Associations may socialise individuals into practising core civic and democratic values, such as tolerance, dialogue and deliberation, trust, solidarity, and reciprocity."
 
I'd mentioned in a previous post that I had a few more thoughts on this report on citizen engagement from the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability (Citizenship DRC) at the UK's Institute of Development Studies (IDS). In light of recent conversations at the Bank regarding civil society, I've been thinking about the significance of framing civil society in instrumental terms (i.e., as a means toward an end in achieving sectoral reforms) vs. framing it as a fundamental institution of good governance. 

Quote of the Week

Antonio Lambino's picture

"Research on political participation has identified a number of deep-seated norms and values that are positively associated with the amount and quality of democratic engagement.  One of the most central of these is political efficacy, or the sense that one's participation can actually make a difference (internal efficacy) and that the political system would be responsive to this participation (external efficacy)... Although political efficacy is affected by a number of demographic, contextual, and cultural factors, the media plays an important role in its formation and expression."   

                                              Michael X. Delli Carpini (2004)*

Photo credit: Jim Roese photography

*Delli Carpini, M. X. (2004). Mediating Democratic Engagement: The Impact of Communications on Citizens' Involvement in Political and Civic Life. In L. L. Kaid (Ed.), Handbook of Political Communication Research (pp. 395-434). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.