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A comparative study of compulsory voting
Author: Sarah Birch

This is a book-length study of compulsory voting. About a quarter of all democracies in the contemporary world legally oblige their citizens to vote, making this an important aspect of electoral systems in many settings. Moreover, numerous commentators and policy-makers in voluntary voting states are coming to see mandatory attendance at the polls as an attractive option in the context of declining turnout. Yet, we know relatively little about this practice beyond its effects on rates of electoral participation; there has been a dearth of systematic examination of the way in which compulsory voting shapes attitudes, behaviour and outcomes in the political process. This book seeks to fill that gap by providing a comprehensive description, analysis and evaluation of compulsory voting as it is practiced throughout the world. Specifically, the study systematically examines the history of the institution, the normative arguments for and against it, and the influence it has on a range of political phenomena. These include electoral campaigns, political attitudes, electoral integrity and legitimacy, policy outcomes and turnout. The book also considers the feasibility of introducing compulsory voting in a contemporary democracy, as well as variations on the institution designed to broaden its appeal.

From Athens to e-democracy
Author: Matt Qvortrup

We live in an age of democracy. Very few people challenge the virtues of ‘government by the people’, yet, politicians and commentators are fond of decrying the ‘crisis of democracy’. How do these views square up? This book provides the answer by surveying the philosophical history of democracy and its critics and by analysing empirical data about citizen participation in Britain and other developed democracies. In addition to analysis of major political thinkers such as Plato, Machiavelli and J.S. Mill, it analyses how modern technology has influenced democracy. Among the issues discussed in the book are why people vote and what determines their decisions. When do citizens get involved in riots and demonstrations? Are spin doctors and designer politics a threat to democracy? Do the mass-media influence our political behaviour?

Continuity and change
Rob Manwaring

4 Political participation: continuity and change Not only is it the case that the vast majority of citizens are at best ­marginally engaged in civic or political activism, it is also far from clear how even a broader base of participation beyond elections and political parties could help address the decline of representative democracy. Wilks-Heeg, Blick and Crone, 2012 The changing patterns of political participation and support Political participation is part of a dynamic process of exchange between the citizen and the state. In Britain and Australia, as in

in The search for democratic renewal
Sruti Bala

the gestures of participatory art 3 Unsolicited gestures of participation Gesture is always the gesture of being at a loss in language. (Agamben, 1999, p. 78) The theatre of the oppressed for women’s empowerment in India In May 2013 I spent two days as a participant-observer of a community theatre workshop for rural women leaders in the small town of Karur in Tamil Nadu, south India. The workshop was part of a year-long train-the-trainer programme using the methodology of the ‘theatre of the oppressed’, which ended shortly before the national parliamentary

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

delicate gestures of participation 5 Delicate gestures of participation Freedom, rather, possesses the strange capacity to hide itself in the gesture that expresses it. (Flusser, 2014, p. 164) An audience that sleeps? Going off to sleep during a performance is usually regarded as a sign of boredom, lack of attentiveness and lack of interest on the part of spectators. The sight (or sound!) of audience members falling asleep might be perceived as an indication of the performance’s failure to engage, entertain or enthuse and thus a failure to fulfil what are

in The gestures of participatory art
Rob Manwaring

3 Understanding political participation The democratic impulse needs to be strengthened by finding new ways to enable citizens to share in decision-making that affects them. For too long a false antithesis has been presented between ‘representative’ and ‘direct’ democracy. The truth is that in a mature society representatives will make better decisions if they take full account of popular opinion and encourage public debate on the big decisions affecting people’s lives. Tony Blair, 1998 The trouble with Socialism is that it takes too many evenings. Attributed

in The search for democratic renewal
Steven Fielding

8 Engaging with participation Most contemporaries dismissed Labour’s attempts to accommodate demands for government to promote greater popular access to decisionmaking. Those on the New Left presumed the Cabinet opposed greater involvement in the political process; such critics adhered to Ralph Miliband’s contention that the leadership was devoted to the parliamentary system and implacably hostile to those who challenged the constitutional status quo.1 Censure was not, however, restricted to the far left. The backbench MP John Mackintosh was one of an

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1
Katharine Dommett

In this chapter attention turns to a second aspect of linkage, to consider citizens’ views of participation. 1 Whilst participation and representation can be connected, they are not, as Lawson ( 1980 , p. 9) argues, equivalent, as each activity can proceed independently of the other. Participating in politics does not automatically guarantee that your ideas and priorities will be taken up and represented. This makes it interesting to explore what is desired from participation in parties and whether these ideals are being realised. This inquiry is

in The reimagined party
Sruti Bala

vicarious gestures of participation 4 Vicarious gestures of participation The more frequently we interrupt someone engaged in an action, the more gestures we obtain. (Benjamin, 1973a, p. 24) Invitations to in-between places The idea for the performance project Where We Are Not (2009) by the Amsterdam-based Lebanese artist Lina Issa emerged out of the artist’s own legal situation at the time. Issa’s application for an extension of her Dutch residence permit had been rejected, and she was awaiting the outcome of her appeal. She thus found herself in a situation

in The gestures of participatory art
Bronagh Hinds

been made, more is required. Participation The politics of participation has been a recurring theme among women in Northern Ireland before and since the GFA. The debate is conducted on twin tracks: on the one hand, women’s civic engagement in the development of public policy and services; on the other, how to reach a critical mass of women in

in Everyday life after the Irish conflict