MT05 Political Institutions and Civic Engagement

Chair: Rieko Kage

We invite theoretically-informed, empirically-based proposals that investigate political institutions and/or civic engagement, especially as they relate to inequality, the main theme of the 2016 Congress.  Studies have consistently shown that resources are a strong determinant of civic engagement.  How, then, is growing economic and social inequality transforming civic engagement in different countries, whether in terms of quality and/or quantity? 

The effects of inequality may be assessed at several different levels.  At the individual level, what are the effects of inequality on voting, participation in voluntary associations, and/or subjective self-efficacy?  Are we seeing a ‘bowling alone’ phenomenon emerging across different countries – and to what extent does rising inequality explain the variation?

We can also think of the effects of inequality on organisations and political institutions.  How do formal and informal norms and practices perpetuate inequality within political institutions? How does inequality affect the formation of civil society organisations and the strategies they adopt?

Finally, we might also think of the effects of civic engagement on inequality itself. How do patterns of voting or lobbying encourage or discourage the enactment of policies to alleviate inequality? There are many other questions that can be asked as well.  We welcome studies using a variety of empirical or interpretive approaches and methods, and single-country as well as cross-national research designs.

<< Back to Congress Theme