EUDEMOS: Constrained Democracy: Citizens’ Responses to Limited Political Choice in the European Union
Funding: ERC Consolidator Grant (GA647835)
Postdoctoral fellows: Toni Rodon, Moritz Osnabruegge and Sebastian Barfort
Other co-authors: Julian Hoerner, Catherine De Vries, Hector Solaz, James Tilley
The EUDEMOS project examines the impact of political choice on citizens’ political behaviour and attitudes. How is political choice changing in Europe? What are the implications for citizen mobilization, vote choices and satisfaction with democracy?
Political choice is crucial to democracy and lies at the heart of what distinguishes democratic systems from non-democratic ones. In most systems, political parties play a key role in offering choice to citizens: they organize politics and channel societal conflict into institutionalized patterns of political competition in ways that serve to reveal and aggregate voters’ preferences such that governments can represent its citizens. The extent to which a party system can provide a range of political choices to citizens that match their preferences has profound implications for the nature and quality of democracy.
The aim of EUDEMOS is to examine both how the nature of political choice has developed in Europe in the post-war period – with closer European integration, the rise of challenger parties, increasing fragmentation and polarization – and the consequences of changing political choice for voter mobilization, electoral choices and satisfaction with democracy. We show that party systems are changing. Challenger parties are on the rise in Europe. Like disruptive entrepreneurs, these parties offer new policies and defy the dominance of established party brands. This has implications for the nature of choice offered by a system, which in turn has implications for citizen engagement with politics, their electoral choices and how satisfied they are with politics.
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