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Research on political activism compares the ways that citizens engage in the public sphere, the processes that lead them to do so, and the consequences of these acts. The structure of opportunities for citizen activism in democratic or autocratic regime diverge sharply, such as in freedom of expression, association, and assembly. These contextual differences can be expected to have major consequences for the risks and rewards of becoming politically engaged -- and the incentives driving this process. To explore these issues, Part I describes the theoretical framework and builds upon previous research. Part II examines new evidence. Survey data is derived from the 7th wave of the World Values Survey/European Values Survey (WVS/EVS), with fieldwork conducted from 2017-20, covering 75 diverse countries. Participation is measured by eighteen survey items which are collapsed into standardized composite indices for voting turnout, civic activism, online activism, and protest activism, described in the chapter’s technical appendix. Nation-states are clustered into four types of regimes - liberal democracies, electoral democracies, electoral autocracies, and absolute autocracies, based on the Varieties of Democracy classification. Models focus on the links connecting motivational attitudes with likelihood of voting after controlling for several demographic characteristics and resources most commonly associated with turnout. Overall reported levels of mass participation are confirmed to be significantly lower in autocracies, as expected, especially protest activism in more repressive states. But contrasts in the motivational attitudes associated with voting participation provide more mixed results. Part III summarizes the findings and considers their broader implications.


Norris, Pippa. "Participation in Democratic and Authoritarian Regimes." Oxford Handbook of Political Participation. Ed. Maria Grasso and Marco Giugni. Oxford University Press, 2021.