Grammars of Political Action

  • Therese O’Toole
  • Richard Gale
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


Accounts of citizen disengagement from electoral and party politics in established democracies around the world are widespread (Hay 2007). Increasingly, these are informed by an emerging literature that contrasts falling levels of citizens’ engagement in elections and party activism with relatively high levels of civic, voluntary or other informal modes of political engagement (Dalton 2008). Seen from this view, political participation is not so much declining as changing, as we discussed in Chapter 2. Many locate these changes within broader social and political developments that have been taking place over the last few decades, such as the rise of new social movements since the 1960s, characterised by more informal forms of activism, that focus on questions of identity, and which are associated with the growth of ‘postmaterialist’ values and political concerns (Inglehart 1997; Norris 2002). Additionally, the end of the Cold War, it is suggested, has had profound implications for political ideologies, diminishing the mass-mobilising role of political parties (Beck 1997). The growth of the internet since the 1980s is credited with making state boundaries and scales of action more fluid, and diversifying the targets of political action beyond the nation-state (Norris 2002) and enabling more creative and personalised repertoires of action (Dahlgren 2005; Bennett 2008).


Fair Trade Political Participation Group Identity Muslim Woman Political Engagement 
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Copyright information

© Therese O’Toole and Richard Gale 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese O’Toole
    • 1
  • Richard Gale
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BristolUK
  2. 2.Cardiff UniversityUK

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