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Combining the best of both worlds? Party members and citizens’ initiatives in Belgium

Bram Wauters (UGent) , Bram Verschuere (UGent) and Tony Valcke (UGent)
(2020) CITIZENSHIP STUDIES. 24(6). p.825-845
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Abstract
The linkage function of political parties is put under pressure the last few decades (testified by increased electoral volatility and decline in party membership). As a result, it is assumed that citizens increasingly seek for other forms of participation, especially in their own neighborhood. These so-called 'citizen initiatives' are not organized by the political elite and they have no (formal) affiliations with political parties. But this 'transformation thesis' is questioned by the 'pluralization thesis' that assumes that party members combine different types of participation (including engagement in citizen initiatives). In this paper, we estimate whether party members are pursuing their goals (also) with other means than party membership, or whether citizen initiatives constitute a complete distinct form of participation. In addition, we investigate which factors at the individual (e.g. resources) and party level (e.g. ideology) correlate with participation behaviour. We rely on data gathered in recent party member surveys in five Belgian political parties. We find that that distinctions between types of participation are less clear-cut than often assumed, and that a considerable number of citizens act as 'civic omnivores' combining different types of participation (supporting the pluralization thesis). This is especially true for members of green parties.
Keywords
Political Science and International Relations, Geography, Planning and Development, participation, parties, party membership, citizen initiatives, civic omnivores, Belgium, POLITICAL-PARTICIPATION, DECLINE, FORMS, DEMOCRACY

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MLA
Wauters, Bram, et al. “Combining the Best of Both Worlds? Party Members and Citizens’ Initiatives in Belgium.” CITIZENSHIP STUDIES, vol. 24, no. 6, 2020, pp. 825–45, doi:10.1080/13621025.2020.1745153.
APA
Wauters, B., Verschuere, B., & Valcke, T. (2020). Combining the best of both worlds? Party members and citizens’ initiatives in Belgium. CITIZENSHIP STUDIES, 24(6), 825–845. https://doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2020.1745153
Chicago author-date
Wauters, Bram, Bram Verschuere, and Tony Valcke. 2020. “Combining the Best of Both Worlds? Party Members and Citizens’ Initiatives in Belgium.” CITIZENSHIP STUDIES 24 (6): 825–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2020.1745153.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Wauters, Bram, Bram Verschuere, and Tony Valcke. 2020. “Combining the Best of Both Worlds? Party Members and Citizens’ Initiatives in Belgium.” CITIZENSHIP STUDIES 24 (6): 825–845. doi:10.1080/13621025.2020.1745153.
Vancouver
1.
Wauters B, Verschuere B, Valcke T. Combining the best of both worlds? Party members and citizens’ initiatives in Belgium. CITIZENSHIP STUDIES. 2020;24(6):825–45.
IEEE
[1]
B. Wauters, B. Verschuere, and T. Valcke, “Combining the best of both worlds? Party members and citizens’ initiatives in Belgium,” CITIZENSHIP STUDIES, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 825–845, 2020.
@article{8655100,
  abstract     = {The linkage function of political parties is put under pressure the last few decades (testified by increased electoral volatility and decline in party membership). As a result, it is assumed that citizens increasingly seek for other forms of participation, especially in their own neighborhood. These so-called 'citizen initiatives' are not organized by the political elite and they have no (formal) affiliations with political parties. But this 'transformation thesis' is questioned by the 'pluralization thesis' that assumes that party members combine different types of participation (including engagement in citizen initiatives). In this paper, we estimate whether party members are pursuing their goals (also) with other means than party membership, or whether citizen initiatives constitute a complete distinct form of participation. In addition, we investigate which factors at the individual (e.g. resources) and party level (e.g. ideology) correlate with participation behaviour. We rely on data gathered in recent party member surveys in five Belgian political parties. We find that that distinctions between types of participation are less clear-cut than often assumed, and that a considerable number of citizens act as 'civic omnivores' combining different types of participation (supporting the pluralization thesis). This is especially true for members of green parties.},
  author       = {Wauters, Bram and Verschuere, Bram and Valcke, Tony},
  issn         = {1362-1025},
  journal      = {CITIZENSHIP STUDIES},
  keywords     = {Political Science and International Relations,Geography,Planning and Development,participation,parties,party membership,citizen initiatives,civic omnivores,Belgium,POLITICAL-PARTICIPATION,DECLINE,FORMS,DEMOCRACY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {825--845},
  title        = {Combining the best of both worlds? Party members and citizens’ initiatives in Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2020.1745153},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2020},
}

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