Political Activism Research: Studying the Evoution of Political Behavior


The study of political activism has grown significantly within the last fifty years. Political participation was always the cornerstone of research in political science, but the advent of comparative political behavior studies and quantitative analysis has paved the way for data-driven investigations of who votes, why people participate and what types of political activities citizens prefer. This article is an introduction to the main scholarship in political participation studies, its evolution since the beginning, the shift in focus from conventional activism to unconventional engagement, up to the most recent innovation of digital participation. The political behavior field has showed how citizens are not necessarily prepared to be polit-ical animals, how political interest and opportunities play a role in the levels of participation recorded and how individuals may choose newer, confrontational modes of political expression that better fit their needs. In the end, the entire development of this field of research highlights once more the relevance of political action, especially with regards to how participation has changed in Europe, over time and across borders.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v9i1p01

Keywords: electoral turnout; political behavior; political participation; protest; voting


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Articles published in this special issue:

Christensen H.S. (2016), “Political Dissatisfactions and Citizen Involvement: Political Participation in Europe during the Early Stages

of the Economic Crisis”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 19-45

Di Mauro D. (2016), “Economic Crisis and Electoral Participation in European Elections. An Assessment of the Relationship”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 46-71

Filetti A. (2016), “Participating Unequally? Assessing the Macro-Micro Relationship between Income Inequality and Political Engagement in Europe”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 72-100

Vassallo F., P. Ding (2016), “Explaining Protest in the Aftermath of the Great Recession in Europe: The Relevance of Different Economic Indicators”, Partecipezione e conflitto, 9(1): 101-126

Memoli V. (2016), “Unconventional Participation in Time of Crisis: How Ideology Shapes Citizens’ Political Actions”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 127-151

Iancu A., S. Soare (2016), “Political Activism: Post-communist Challenges and Opportunities in East Central Europe”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 152-180

Portos M. (2016), “Taking to the Streets in the Shadow of Austerity: A Chronology of the Cycle of Protests In Spain, 2007-2015”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 181-210

Splendore S. (2016), “Media Use, Political Participation and the Level of Digitization. A Comparative Analysis of EU Countries”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 211-232

Quaranta M. (2016), “Towards a Western European “Social Movement Society”? An Assessment: 1981–2009”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 9(1): 233- 258

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