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On the Need to Include Passive Citizens in Public Participation Processes



Research on enhancing public participation has increasingly concentrated on using novel instruments to collect opinions of citizens in order to inform the decision-maker about preferred policies. This paper argues that these hardly contribute to the achievement of the classic political-philosophical ideals of citizen involvement if only already active citizens become involved and passive ones remain excluded. Based on the newest European Value Study, this paper first proposes a measure to distinguish between passive and active citizens. It shows that passive citizens do have particular background characteristics in terms of age, education, and poverty. Compared to active citizens, they also adhere to different values as seen in their high adherence to materialistic values, the absence of interpersonal trust, and the much lesser importance attached by them to tolerance and respect. The conclusion is that just collecting opinions through the use of social media and polling, and calling this participation 2.0 or “light” participation, as is proposed nowadays, fails to contribute to the original goals of public participation.

Frequenza di pubblicazione:
2 volte all'anno
Argomenti della rivista:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration