Traditional active or monitorial citizens? Citizenship Typology in Lithuania
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Democracy is rather fragile, when it is based on formal democratical institutions. Support for govermental institutions and citizen participation in the process of political governance is an essential condition for the functioning of democracy and ensuring the stability of society. Citizens are free to choose a number of ways to influence the political process. However, not all modes of political participation are equal with respect to the consolidation of newly established democratic system. High levels of institutional trust and conventional modes of participation constitute a precondition for a stable democratic system. On the other hand, participation in legal protest actions may be considered as acts of self-expression and it is not dangerous for stability of democracy.
The focus of this paper is to identify and to investigate types of citizenship in Lithuania. What groups of citizens in Lithuania may be distinguished in accordance with their level of interest in politics, political efficacy, trust to political institutions and participation in political acts? What are the factors that determine the differences between types of citizens? What are the causes and explanations of different patterns of political attitudes and participation between types of citizens?
Based on the survey conducted in Lithuania in 2010 and 60 semi-structured interviews, the paper draws conclusions that four types of citizens (trustful participants, traditional voters, distrusful activists, distrustful non-activists) may be indentified and they significantly differ by age, membership in nongovernmental organizations, interpersonal trust, satisfaction with life and evaluations of procedural justice in local government. From theoretical perspectives of active traditional and postmodern citizenship, the characteristics of identified groups are mixed, because of socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Lithuania.
Digital Clientelism? Microtargeting as Promise and Contextualized Political Tool
University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
One aspect of the datafication of everyday life are the opportunities that it affords political parties to take recourse to instruments of voter surveillance. Opinion surveys and market research are obvious precursors of data-mining and microtargeting. However, what proponents of microtargeting promise has little to do with attempts to capture the main or average interests and moods of a political public. The promise is instead to enable non-public particularistic pledges of politicians or parties to promote individuals’ welfare in a tailor-made fashion. In this regard it resembles clientelism.
The paper will first examine the promise of microtargeting by comparing it with clientelistic practices. Similarities concern personalization, the abandonment of universalistic claims and the role of surveillance. A comparison of the clientelistic relationship and the datafied relationship between politicians and voters can therefore shed light on possible consequences of microtargeting for the quality of democracy. At the same time, the realization of datafied political campaigning depends on institutional rules and established cultural frames. It is therefore likely to vary from country to country. In a second step the paper will introduce exemplary cases in which the potential of microtargeting to alter the relationship between politicians and voters varies. The overall aim is to further our understanding of the extent of the digital transformation of politics in comparative perspective.
Critical Voices and Contention: Modes of Civil Society Mobilisation Around Disability in Russia
London School of Economics, United Kingdom
My research examines Russian civil society’s interaction with (a) state policy and institutions; and (b) wider societal understandings of disability, as it seeks to reconfigure forms of social control and stigma. Based on 61 semi-structured interviews conducted in four cities from 2017 to 2018 with a mix of GONGOs, NGOs, and informal, grassroots, or fluid movements, the research asks what strategies and network of interactions are leveraged by civil society organisations (CSOs) and with what motivations and understandings of their environment.
Previous research on CSOs mobilising around disability in Russia has emphasised gap-filling and medical interventions. This is compounded by some consensus in civil society research seeing Russian CSOs as channelled into service provision with limited room for contention. On this view, the semi-authoritarian government follows a dual strategy of encouraging loyal organisations, while restricting potentially critical CSOs; disability organisation is broadly not seen as a space of radical contention.
In contrast to this, my paper argues that disability CSOs demonstrate contention in their understandings of disability and diverse work to reconfigure forms of social control and rebalance power. It presents participant understandings of contention in their work and strategies to achieve change. Notably, it uncovers and analyses the covert links between formal NGOs close to the government and grassroots, fluid movements. The presentation invites broader discussion of CSO responses to repressive regulatory environments. It stimulates debate on how CSOs in these contexts may continue to renegotiate identity and agency through engagement with social policies, policy processes, and wider society.
How Social Capital and Experiences in the Workplace Mediate the Relationship between Education and Political Participation.
Radboud University, Netherlands, The
This study examines the relationship between education and political participation. Although there is a strong empirical link between education and political participation, the specific mechanism underlying these effects are often only implicitly theorized. We contribute to the understanding of this mechanism by testing whether social capital and experiences in the workplace mediate the positive relationship between education and political participation. Individuals’ education level affects the types of jobs they work in, and these jobs differ with regard to the extent they socialize individuals politically. We expect that individuals with higher levels of education have jobs involving more social capital, political discussions, and (positive) experiences with workplace voice compared to individuals with lower levels of education. In turn, we expect that this capital, discussions and experiences positively affect political participation. Testing our expectations, applying a structural regression model on a two-wave panel study of over 6000 individuals from the Netherlands, we find that the relationship between education and political participation is mediated by social capital, political discussions, and experiences that individuals have in the workplace. Our findings indicate that political inequalities arising from differences in education are reinforced by the jobs that individuals work in.