Everyday Politics and the Transformation of Political Participation

Academic and public commentators often assume that public participation and interest in politics in liberal democracies is in long-term decline.

While this is the case for formal politics – election turnout is broadly declining worldwide – growing evidence suggests participation in politics is taking new and distinctive forms.

Using social media, occupying public spaces, ethical consumerism and even playing sport or making art can all be political acts, and a lot of recent research shows that more people see what they do as a way of challenging established norms or expressing political views.

We call these new forms of participation ‘everyday politics’, being about constant participation in our everyday lives rather than just voting once every four or five years.

Project Aims:

Our aim is to examine how widespread these new forms of participation are, and how they pose a challenge to traditional forms of participation.

Do people think of their use of social media or the products they buy as ‘political’ or do they just do them for fun?

Do they do them instead of participating in traditional political parties and elections?

And is this a real problem for democracy or something to be celebrated?

More projects: Innovations in International Environmental Policy

Using social media, occupying public spaces, ethical consumerism and even playing sport or making art can all be political acts

Related research streams

See more on our research stream: participation, protest and transformation