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From the same journal

Democratic Non-Participation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Publication details

DateAccepted/In press - 11 Sep 2019
Original languageEnglish


The idea that there might be democratic forms of non-participation has been largely overlooked in the theoretical and empirical literature on democracy. Non-participation has variously been seen as a threat to the proper functioning of democracy, a rational choice, or (more rarely) as potentially beneficial at the systems level. We argue that there are forms of non-participation that may be justified on democratic grounds. Our main theoretical move is to distinguish between reflectivity (or thoughtfulness) and participation. We argue that the normative value of both participation and non-participation is conditioned by reflectivity, such that there may be democratically desirable forms of reflective non-participation. To support our claims, we provide examples of how non-participation can help support democratic goods — such as inclusion, influence, and legitimacy — that are normally associated only with democratic participation.

Bibliographical note

Democratic Theory; Participation; Non-Participation; Deliberative Democracy; Protest.

    Research areas

  • Democratic Theory, Participation, Non-Participation, Deliberative Democracy, Protest

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