About institutions and citizens

Polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion takes place through a wide array of path­ways. In rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cies we tend to first think of elec­tions and vot­ing, but many peo­ple engage polit­i­cal­ly in oth­er ways as well, be it through demon­stra­tions, local ini­tia­tives, peti­tions or inter­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion. What con­nect­ed the diverse range of par­tic­i­pa­tion forms is that they all act as vehi­cles for cit­i­zens and insti­tu­tions to interact.


That is most obvi­ous when we look at the insti­tu­tions that make up the polit­i­cal appa­ra­tus of the state. Cit­i­zens vote for rep­re­sen­ta­tives to take seats in par­lia­ment and peti­tions col­lect­ed by peo­ple fir a par­tic­u­lar cause may be hand­ed over to gov­ern­ment agen­cies. But we also see soci­etal insti­tu­tions engaged in this inter­play. When peo­ple in a com­mu­ni­ty come togeth­er to organ­ise pro­vi­sions joint­ly, they rede­fine the role of the com­mu­ni­ty itself and how deci­sions about the life with­in it may be made.


At d|part we are study the dia­logue between insti­tu­tions and cit­i­zens and how it changes in dif­fer­ent con­texts of polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion. We are inter­est­ed in exam­in­ing how elites that may con­trol cer­tain insti­tu­tions think about and engage with publics and vice ver­sa. Fur­ther­more, we explore how civic organ­i­sa­tion by peo­ple can change soci­etal struc­tures – which can have fur­ther impli­ca­tions for polit­i­cal institutions.