For any democrat, the quality of governance must depend — in large part — on the extent to which citizens participate (or are allowed to participate) in the process of governing. In this chapter we review the many channels through which people can participate in government, ranging from the conventional to the unconventional. Two points will soon become clear. First, the quantity and the quality of participation vary not only between regime types but also within individual countries over time and between its social groups. Even in democracies, participation is far from equal. Second, opinion polls reveal that large numbers of people are either poorly informed about the issues at stake, or choose not to express themselves. And in authoritarian systems, of course, their views and opinions are not usually entertained to begin with.
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- Political Participation
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- Chapter 13