Inequalities in Non-institutionalised Forms of Political Participation: A Multi-level Analysis of 25 countries



Various studies suggest that while institutionalised and electoral forms of political participation are in decline in Western societies, non-institutionalised forms of participation (like demonstrating, political consumerism or signing petitions) are on the rise. However, this expansion of the political action repertoire of citizens also entails the question of equal participation opportunities. It can be argued that contemporary ideals of democratic participation assume an equal representation of citizens' interests. In this article we analyse the equality of participation patterns using comparative data from the 2004 ISSP survey. Our results suggest that non-institutionalised forms of participation increase patterns of inequality due to education but strongly reduce or even reverse gender and age inequalities. As such, both institutionalised and non-institutionalised forms of participation have specific (dis)advantages from the perspective of preserving equal access to democratic decision-making procedures.