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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses political activism and provides an overview that highlights four key themes that have emerged during the last ten years. The first two themes are the growing recognition of the importance of the institutional context of formal rules for electoral turnout and the widespread erosion of party membership in established democracies and questions about its consequences. The last two themes, on the other hand, are the substantial revival of interest in voluntary associations and social trust spurred by theories of social capital and the expansion of diverse forms of cause-oriented types of activism. After briefly illustrating some of the literature which has developed around these themes, the article concludes by considering the challenges for the future research agenda in comparative politics.

Keywords: political activism, formal rules, electoral turnout, erosion, party membership, democracy, voluntary associations, social trusts, social capital, activism

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