1. On the other hand, non-institutionalized participation

1. Introduction

«Legum omnes servi
sumus ut liberi esse possimus» (Ciceronis, 66 BC). Modern democracies secure political life for
all citizens regarding expression, association, and participation and grant them
the right to influence the system in which they live (Kellner, 2014). Nevertheless, their range of freedom
depends on the country (Antonio & Kellner,
1992)
and its political culture (Holston, 2009). Globalisation as
well, in its various forms, is influencing the socio-political status quo (Amos,
et al., 2002).
In the last fifty years, political participation has been theorized and
observed (Teorell, 2006). Especially, factors
stimulating or turning away citizens were of primary interest (Henn & Foard, 2014). A deeper knowledge could
help in defining strategies to develop a culture of participation, directly
linked to the quality of democracy.

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2. Participating in politics

Political participation is an ambiguous term
since it can be attributed to many forms of action. Its freedom depends largely
on the national background, though globalization led to a homogenization of
political cultures, reducing differences between countries (Amos, et al., 2002). Nowadays, the major
form of participation can be individual or collective, public or private,
conventional or unconventional for particular or general interests (Brady, et al., 1995). Indeed, citizens
have a wide gamma of choice through which satisfy their need of political life (Alvarez, et al., 2017). Furthermore, the
continuous transformation of society provides new means by education, job
rights, urbanization, and lifestyle. Overall, technology gave a huge
contribution, revolutionizing communication within and between countries,
whereas information is an integral part of this flux (Kim, et al., 2016).

In political life, visible actions can be
defined as “public”, but can’t be considered far more important than the
invisible ones, since these are deeper on the psychological level. Indeed, participation
is also following political events, debates, and decisions and feeling joy or sadness
for them (Gorkovenko & Taylor,
2016).
A further distinction is also on the institutional level, where the adherence could
be related to a juridical or social standard. On one hand, the
institutionalized participation belongs to an actual system and is the core of
a political life. On the other hand, non-institutionalized participation is
historically linked to revolutions, which usually leads to radical changes as a
result of polarization due to the rise of “extra-parliamentary” groups (Tarrow, 1989). Often, violence is part of the
equation, arising from movements intended for systems’ destruction and building
of a new order (Müller, 1970). In extremis, the
persistence of endemic contrasts could mine the existence of democracy itself (Lakoff, 2015).

Research on the relationship between society
and politics raises important questions on nature and quality of democracy as
well as how it took shape. Some authors agree that political participation is
below standards conjectured by normative theories of democracy (Klandermans, 2017). Even with
socioeconomic improvements, the average citizen is still far from the ideal
civic model and theorists do not agree on the cause. Some think about a
“physiological” problem (Renshon, et al., 2015) that couldn’t be
solved in the short period since participation should be spontaneous and
democracy can’t ethically appoint duties.

 

3. Conclusion

«O tempora! O
mores!» The
ancient classical ideal of the politician is far. In the past, who wanted to
rule the country with his own decisions and behaviors was obliged to have a
philosophical and juridical education and full control of rhetoric as well as
morality. Instead, modern politicians seem to be unable to solve the modern
crisis and innovate in a historical era meant for radical changes. The contemporary
political system requires a new leadership model with the ability to make
citizens an integral part of the political life. Democracies could even be
still a draft of a true political system and its improvement should be directed
to the civic involvement. A further participation could contribute to raising
social awareness and ensure those values and interests that are now still
misrepresented.

However, citizens should develop their own consciousness
of responsibility in political participation and value the sacrifices of their
ancestors. Their distrust toward politicians can’t be an excuse for refusing
their right to participating in politics. A union of pars antica and pars moderna
will be the foundation of a new system.