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Quote of Note:

"We must risk more democracy!
(Mehr Demokratie wagen!)

Chancellor Willy Brandt

At election time, most town squares in Germany include displays by the political parties to advocate their cause–and about three-quarters of the public typically vote. With regular frequency, the Brandenburg Gate (and other city centers) is the site of public protests dealing with domestic and international political issues. Germany now boasts an active network or non-governmental organizations and citizen interest groups, with interests spanning the political spectrum. The previous chapter demonstrated the public’s interest in politics and use of the media as an information source. Germans are a politically engaged citizenry–but it was not always so.

Immediately following World War II, people in both halves of Germany were understandably hesitant to become politically involved.(1) Having observed the conflict of Weimar politics and then the repression under the Third Reich, sensible people wanted to avoid politics. Furthermore, politics was a negative activity in the eyes of most. From this common starting point, both postwar German states consciously tried to engage their citizens in the political process, although with different expectations about the citizen's appropriate role. The government of the Federal Republic built upon the public's developing acceptance of democratic politics and encouraged them to become real participants in the process. The East German government also encouraged citizens to participate in building their version of a "socialist democracy." Popular participation was as widely encouraged as in the West, although the goal was to mobilize the public to follow the state’s directives rather than to allow the public to shape government policy.

This chapter describes the patterns of democratic political involvement in the Federal Republic. In addition, we assess how Easterners are translating their past political experiences into the open, participatory style in the Federal Republic. The ability to involve Easterners in FRG politics is a key component of success for the Federal Republic's second democratic transition. There is no simple one-to-one relationship between the amount of citizen involvement and the extent of democracy in a nation. And some recent research asks whether the Germans and other Europeans are becoming complacent about participating in politics.(2) Still, meaningful citizen participation is a crucial part of the democratic process. The test of any democracy, including the Federal Republic, is how it encourages and responds to citizen demands.

The Learning of Participatory Norms

A key factor in the Federal Republic's post-WWII democratic transition was the development of participatory norms and behaviors among the public. As late as the end of the 1950s, people held relatively passive attitudes toward the political system; they thought of themselves as subjects rather than as participants.(3) Many people acted like political spectators, as if they were following a soccer match from the grandstand.

An important step in remaking the FRG's political culture was to involve citizens in the process–to have them come onto the field and become participants. The procedures of the Federal Republic encouraged people to become at least minimally involved in the process. Turnout at the polls was higher than in Britain or the United States. People were interested and informed about politics relative to other electorates. Still, most people kept political involvement to a minimum, and many were hesitant to discuss politics openly. People voted out of a sense of civic duty, rather than from a belief in the process and a sense of involvement. Participation beyond voting was fairly limited.

Slowly, attitudes toward political participation and the citizen's role in politics changed. After continued experience with the democratic system, people began to internalize their role as participants. Public opinion polls found that feelings of political effectiveness and civic competence increased substantially over time. In 1959 only 38 percent of people in the Federal Republic felt they could do something to change an unjust or unfair law from being passed by the Bundestag, and 62 percent thought they could do something at the local level. These perceptions of political competence were significantly below those displayed by the British or Americans. By the mid-1970s feelings of competency had risen significantly, especially at the national level, while British and American sentiments had declined slightly.(4) In other words, most people thought that their participation can influence the political process -- people believed that democracy works.

These changing perceptions of politics produced a dramatic increase in political involvement. In 1953, almost two-thirds of the public said they never discussed politics; today more than almost two-thirds claim they discuss politics daily during Bundestag elections. Figure 6.1 displays this growth of citizen involvement in graphic terms. In 1952 only 27 percent of the public said they were interested in politics. The proportion of interested citizens grew steadily over the next three decades. Political interest has now reached a plateau, at a level substantially higher than many other European democracies.(5) Some analysts described this pattern as a "participatory revolution", as an increasing number of individuals became politically engaged.(6)

This revolution not only increased overall political involvement, but also expanded the citizen's role to include a wider array of political activities. In 1959, people defined their role in fairly narrow terms. Most people were hesitant to engage in group activities; the public tended to adopt an administrative view of politics. Especially at the local level, people were more likely to contact the bureaucracy about a political problem than work with other citizens or contact a politician. Contemporary participatory norms emphasize a more activist role. Group based activities or direct contact with an elected official are preferred means of participation. The methods of political action have expanded to include protests, demonstrations, political consumerism, online activity, and other direct action methods.(7)

Political Interest

Citizens in East Germany obviously experienced a much different political environment, but the regime actually fostered many of the same participatory norms. The East German government considered citizen participation as an essential feature of a "socialist democracy."(8) Everyone was expected to vote at election time and be involved in the campaign. The state encouraged people to participate in government organized social groups and political associations. Extensive participation in mass organizations was integral to political life in the East.

The irony of the GDR was that it stressed participatory norms and citizen involvement while rejecting the principle of citizen influence over the government. The communist state mobilized and encouraged, but as a means of political control rather than as an expression of citizen interests. In the short run, the opportunities for involvement and discussion may have tempered public dissatisfaction with the regime. Participation opportunities also gave people some influence over some aspects of their lives. Yet, research suggests that participation in social organizations develops organizational skills and political norms that encourage democratic political styles.(9) By promoting political activity among a public that was knowledgeable about politics and informed about democratic processes in the West, the East German government may have weakened its own legitimacy.

Electoral Politics

Analysts often consider voting in elections as a key indicator of democratic participation. However, German elections are organized very differently from those in the United States. For one thing, the political stakes are higher than in U.S. elections because the ideological differences between the German parties is greater. The German voter now has the choice of supporting a conservative Christian party, a Social Democratic party with a strong socialist heritage, a traditional European liberal party, an anti-establishment Green party, an extreme left party (Linke), an anti-EU party (AfD), and other fringe parties. Another major difference is the system of voter registration. Germans are automatically included in the roster of eligible voters and these electoral registers are updated by the government to ensure that nearly everyone can vote. Turnout is also encouraged by the scheduling of elections on Sundays when more voters can find the time to visit the polls. Given the normal range of Sunday leisure time activities in Germany, some people might even consider voting an enjoyable pursuit. The proportional representation (PR) electoral system also stimulates turnout because any party–large or small–can increase its representation as a direct function of its share of the popular vote.

Election Turnout

Consequently, turnout statistics show that Germans seem to relish the opportunity to cast their ballots (Figure 6.2). Participation in Bundestag elections averages above 70 percent of the eligible electorate over the past several decades, and in the 1970s topped 90 percent! But turnout has dropped in recent elections--this appears to be part of a general trend that is common to the US and other Western democracies. Still, by comparison turnout in American presidential elections hovers around 50 percent.

In their first democratic elections for the Volkskammer in March 1990, Easterners celebrated their new freedom and influence. Newspaper stories told of older Germans voting with tears of joy in their eyes, because for the first time in nearly half a century they could freely cast their ballot. In the December 1990 Bundestag elections Eastern turnout was 74.7 percent, compared to 78.6 percent in the West–and this continued in subsequent elections (Figure 6.2).

Turnout in the 2009 election was the lowest level in the history of the Federal Republic. Many analysts attributed the drop to a lackluster campaign by the political parties. Neither chancellor candidate has a strong personal appeal, and there was only one debate during the campaign. In addition, most people expected the eventual outcome, so the lack of competitiveness was another factor. But in the end, the public's increasing skepticism of political parties after the Grand Coalition may have depressed turnout still further. Moreover, turnout increased very little in 2013.

YouTube video on election turnout in the 2009 election (5:21 min)

Even though Germans now actively participate in democratic elections, the scope of the public's electoral influence remains somewhat limited. The actual number of voting decisions made by the German voter is quite small by U.S. standards. Federal, state and local elections routinely allow the voter to make only one or two electoral decisions in each(see Chapter 8). The many elective offices normally found on a U.S. ballot (judges, sheriffs, schools boards, etc.) are non-elective positions in the Federal Republic. Direct democracy techniques, such as the referendum and initiative, are not used at the national level and appear only infrequently at the state and local levels. The chief executives at the federal and Land levels are not directly elected, but are chosen by the parliamentary majority. Between 2010 and 2014, for example, a resident of Mannheim could have cast a vote on only six separate items in all of the local, state, federal, and European elections held during this period.(10) Compare this to the “long ballot” typical in many U.S. elections, including a range of local, state, and federal offices, plus bond votes or other electoral choices. Thus, the actual amount of electing done by the average German citizen falls far short of electoral decision making in the United States. As one indicator of this difference, analysts estimate that there are over 250,000 elected government officials in the United States compared to probably less than 10,000 in the Federal Republic.

Participation in campaigns is another way for people to participate beyond voting. opportunities. Working for a party, attending campaign meetings, persuading others how to vote, membership in a party or political organization, and other forms of party activity expand political participation. These types of activities are more demanding of the individual than merely casting a vote. Such campaign activity can be an effective method of citizen influence.(11) Compared to the simple act of voting, campaign work more directly connects the citizens to political elites. Campaign activists are necessary for a party to be electorally successful, and party leaders are therefore more sensitive to, and more aware of, the policy interests of activists. In addition, the individual worker can influence the votes of other electors, magnifying the political impact of each campaign worker.

Campaign Activity

German election campaigns are markedly different from the United States, however. For instance, instead of the long–almost perpetual–length of U.S. campaigns, German elections are relatively brief. The “hot phase” of the campaign lasts a few months, rather than the few years of U.S. presidential elections. In part, this is because there are no primaries to select candidates, the party organizations select the candidates. In addition, since there are few elected offices the number of election choices is narrower. This also means there are fewer individual candidates encouraging their friends to help them in the campaign–so the institutional aspects of campaign activity, such as staffing the party booths in the town square or staffing campaign offices, is often done by formal party members. Another major difference is that German elections are financed by the government, and TV advertisements are provided free to the parties--thus the financial elements of campaigns are limited in Germany.

After a surge in campaign activity in the 1970s, participation in campaigns has leveled off in recent elections.(12) The electoral importance of the mass media lessens the importance of campaign activities that once informed the public, such as campaign rallies, canvassing, and formal party meetings. Campaigns are now fought on television rather than in meeting halls and auditoriums. The parties' political spots on television, nightly news reports, and the pre-election debate between the party leaders are the new battlegrounds of the campaign. In the 2009 election only 5 percent of Westerners worked for a party and only 10 attended an election meeting, and 14 percent visited a party information table that are typically found in shopping areas (Figure 6.3). Reflecting the same differences as in voting turnout, these forms of campaign activity were also lower among residents in the East. In overall terrms, German participation in campaigns matchs or exceeds most other European democracies, although typically lower than in the United States.(13)

Citizen Action Groups

The Federal Republic's "participatory revolution" beginning in the 1960s and 1970s created new demands for greater citizen involvement in politics.(14) In addition to voting, people sought more direct forms of political influence. The new breed of political activist is often skeptical or even critical of the political parties as representatives of their interests.

On example of a new form of involvement is through citizen-action groups (Bürgerinitiativen).(15) A citizen-action groups is an ad hoc group of interested people who lobby decision makers on a specific policy issue. Citizen-action groups work mainly outside of the electoral setting and often use protest or direct action tactics. Citizen groups are most active at the local level, dealing with the specific problems of a city or neighborhood. Parents might organize for school reform in their city, renters become involved in urban redevelopment projects, or taxpayers complain about the delivery of government services. At any one time several thousand citizen groups are working throughout the country. Figure 6.3 shows that 6 percent of Westerners claimed to have participated in a civic initiative in the previous twelve months, and 4 percentEasternersners. The lower participation levels in the East is another legacy of its communist heritage.(16)

Citizen-action groups are an example of a network of public interest and non-governmental organizations that comprise a civil society—a society in which people are involved in social and political interactions free of state control or regulation. The citizen-action groups deal with a diverse array of policy areas. As discussed in chapter 7, a vibrant environmental movement developed during the 1970s and came of age in the 1980s; women’s groups became active in reforming society and public policy. And a wide diversity of other public interest groups emerged onto the political stage. Other groups deal with the problems of the socially deprived (convicts, the poor, and foreign workers), youth, tenants' rights, and a variety of other issues. Indeed, the strength of citizen groups is that they allow the public to control the framework of political participation. Citizen groups can define their own issue agenda and choose their own methods of influencing policy makers. By most accounts, membership in the environmental, women, and other public interests groups now exceeds formal membership in political parties.

YouTube video of citizen action group protesting plans for a new runway at Frankfurt airport (3:41 min)

Participation in such groups socializes individuals into the types of political skills and cooperative relations that are part of a well functioning society. People learn how to organize, how to express their interests, and how to work with others to achieve common goals. They also learn the important lesson that the political process itself is as important as the immediate results. A system of active associational groups can also connect people to society and the polity. Group involvement can also be an important route into politics for citizens with fewer individual resources. Group activity can help citizens to develop and clarify their own preferences, provide important information about political events, and articulate the interests of citizens more clearly and precisely than parties and elections. Thus, an active public involved in a diversity of interest groups provides a fertile ground for the development of democratic politics.

In recent years, however, there has been an academic debate about the vibrancy of civil society in Germany and other Western democracies.(18) Many of the traditional large economic and social organizations that were a major source of social capital have decreased in size. Formal membership in labor unions and involvement in religious organizations, for example, has trended downward. It appears that new groups have grown to fill this void, and thus Germany’s civil society is expanding. But many political analysts continue to question whether the modernization of German society and the divisions of unification will erode the nation’s storehouse of social capital.

Initially, politicians were skeptical of citizen action groups and other public interests groups, and hesitant to respond to their demands. This was partially a reaction to the unconventional style of some groups: these groups often resort to petitions, protests, and other direct action methods to dramatize their cause and mobilize public support. In addition, politicians and government officials often expressed doubts about the value of citizen-action groups and the wisdom of their policy demands. Members of the bureaucracy saw citizen groups as an unnecessary disruption of the government's orderly planning and administration process. These are German politicians, after all. In short, political leaders welcomed participation in the abstract, but were not as eager to encourage citizen action when it meant frustrated voters challenging the parties, angry parents criticizing school policy, or dissatisfied citizens drawing attention to the government's unsolved problems.

Elite skepticism of citizen-action groups has given way to meaningful reforms of the political process that allow citizens and citizen groups more direct access.(18) Several states and many local governments now enable, or even encourage, citizen groups to participate in the making and administration of public policy. Local governments are realizing that it is better to work with citizen groups rather than resist their input. Citizen input at the federal level has not developed as extensively. Federal regulations have institutionalized but also restricted the timing and form of citizen involvement in federal policy making. In the 1990s, other reforms have expanded citizen voting rights through the expansion of referendums and direct election of local officials. Roundtables and civic forums have been adopted from the East to provide additional methods of informal citizen consultation. All of the Eastern states also provided for state-level referendums when they wrote new constitutions after unification. On the whole, the proliferation of citizen-action groups is a significant step in the political development of the Federal Republic, and the reform of institutional structures is producing a permanent change in the democratic process.

Protest Politics

The peaceful revolution of 1989 clearly illustrated that citizen participation can burst beyond the bounds of conventional politics to include demonstrations, protests, and other forms of direct action. It was the East Germans' willingness to take to take a stand against the state, and the state's unwillingness to suppress its people with force, that brought the East German government to its end.

Although the events of 1989 were a dramatic example of direct citizen action, protest politics has been a regular part of politics in the Federal Republic. In the 1950s there were demonstrations against government policies on remilitarization and the stationing of NATO nuclear forces on German soil. Labor unions have historically relied on protests as a tool of political influence. In the late 1960s, protest spread to the universities, where students demonstrated for a restructuring of the educational system and broader reforms in German society.

The 1960-70s student protests are politically significant because they marked a change in the style of protest activity. Historically, it was the disadvantaged and politically frustrated who felt they had no other recourse and resorted to protest. Student demonstrations shifted the locus of protest from the working class districts to the privileged university campus. Partially because of its student origins, moderate protest became an accepted method of political action among the middle class and better-educated. Gradually, these new forms of direct action were adopted by other groups, ranging from farmers to political radicals, and became a regular feature of politics. As a large number and variety of political groups began to use direct action methods, these activities lost their revolutionary image. Rather than serving solely as a method of coercion against political authorities, protest politics became a tool of political persuasion and a means of mobilizing popular support outside of the narrow bounds of electoral politics.

Contemporary protest takes many forms. The most visible activities are those designed to capture national media attention. Large demonstrations are now a routine method of involving the public and focusing political attention on an issue. It can range from a candle light vigil as a memorial to the September 11th terrorist attacks, to members of Greenpeace staging a die-in to draw attention to the problems of pollution in eastern Germany. Current debates over immigration have generated protests and demonstrations on both sides of the issue. Such protests are not an effective way to persuade the government to change policy, but they are effective in getting people to think and talk about a political issue.

Is 1984 Already Here?

Germany has very strict privacy laws compared to the United States. Thus, the revelations by Snowden and other whistleblowers on the United States' global spying activities stimulated a sharp reaction by German protestors all across Germany. Members of the parliament also called for Snowden to testify on the US program to committees of the Bundestag, by videoconference if necessary. The NSA apparently even tapped the cellphone of Chancellor Merkel, who had to purchase a new NSA-proof phone in 2014 to protect her from US eavesdropping.

YouTube video of protests against US spying in Germany

Dramatic protest events are the most noticeable examples of protest politics, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Even the large national organizations utilize a variety of contentious political activities, from circulating petitions, to organizing local protests, to staging spectacular actions. Many local groups also embrace these new forms of participation. A neighborhood group opposed to a new highway might block access to the construction site, parents concerned about the schools might stage a demonstration, or dissatisfied tenants might organize a rent boycott. In recent years political consumerism--buying or boycotting a product for political or ethical reasons--has become more commonplace in Germany. Most participants in these activities are actually concerned with local problems rather than broad national issues and large scale national movements.(19)

Public opinion surveys provide a way to assess the public's overall involvement in various forms of protest politics (Figure 6.4). Many people claim that the period of protest is passing; but the evidence does not substantiate this claim. Instead, protest activities have spread beyond their initial core groups to become an accepted part of political action. Citizens now protest over highways, schools, and neighborhood issues as well as larger social questions, such as the quality of the environment, worker benefits, and women's right. Almost half of Westerners had participated in some type of unconventional political participation in the previous twelve months, which is higher than participation in elections beyond voting. The use of protest has increased since the 1970s and 1980s. In 2008, more than half of the public in both West and East had signed a petition, a quarter had joined a lawful demonstration, ansubstantialtial number joined a boycott. Protest is the extension of conventional politics to new political methods.

Protest Activity

The dark side of unconventional politics occurs when people engage in violent behavior. The potential for extremism existed even with the 1960s student movement. Early student protests sometimes led to violent clashes with the police; unruly mobs sometimes resorted to violence, such as smashing store windows. The fringe element of the student movement served as a breeding ground for the radicalism that eventually spawned the Baader-Meinhoff terrorists and Red Army Faction (RAF). Political protests still sometimes produce violence, as demonstrators clash with police or small radical groups sabotage property. For example, the most radical opponents to nuclear power sabotaged the transmission lines that distribute the electricity from nuclear power plants in a wave of attacks during 1986 and 1987. A Google search of "protest Germany" finds a long list of recent confrontations."

More recently, international terrorism has also tread across German soil. Several of the September 11th terrorists had met and studied in Hamburg before coming to the United States. In 1986 Libyan terrorists bombed a nightclub in Berlin that was typically frequented by American soldiers. And in 2006 a terrorist plot to bomb several trains failed. In 2011 a terrorist from Kosovo fired on a US Air Force bus in Frankfurt, killing an airman and the bus driver. These threats have generated considerable debate about how to ensure the nation’s security while protecting the legitimate political rights of the citizenry.

Political violence clearly goes beyond the tolerable bounds of democratic politics and is fundamentally different from the protest behavior of most citizens. As Figure 6.4 indicates, only a small share of the public has occupied a building or participated in an unofficial strike. Surveys generally show overwhelming disapproval of political violence. Concerns about international terrorism also have increased in recent years. The vast majority of Germans want to protest the actions of the democratic political process, not destroy it.

Participatory Politics and the Federal Republic

Democratic societies are based on participation in the political process and popular control of political elites. Therefore, increases in political interest and various forms of political participation should be seen as a sign of the vitality of the political system. The traditional characterization of the average German as quiescent and uninvolved no longer applies. Relative to other European publics, Germans are engaged in a wide range of political activities; the spectators have become participants.

Anti-war protest in Berlin

As political interest and sophistication have grown among the Federal Republic's electorate, the form of participation has shifted toward more emphasis on citizen-initiated activities and contentious forms of activity. Increases in citizen-action groups and direct action methods are especially significant because they place greater control over the locus and focus of participation into the hands of the citizenry. Political input is not limited to the issues and institutionalized channels determined by elites. A single individual, or group of citizens, can organize around a specific issue and select the timing and method of influencing policy makers. Citizen groups can use petitions, protests, lobbying, party work, or whatever technique is most appropriate to their goals. These direct action methods are high information and high pressure activities. They therefore match some of the participation demands of an increasingly educated and politically sophisticated public; far more than conventional participation in voting and campaign activities.

Now, equally important, these possibilities for popular influence have been expanded to the new citizens in the East. As we have seen with aspects of the political culture, this second transition to democracy begins from a much different starting point than the first. Easterners are positive toward democratic politics and interested in participating in the process. Intentionally or unintentionally, the GDR encouraged its citizens to be political participants of the Federal Republic. At the start, many Easterners found democratic participation confusing and felt it often fell short of the democratic ideals. This is changing with the passage of time. If we use the soccer analogy once more, now that Easterners are participating they are learning the mechanics of the game and the application of the rules. Westerners gained these experiences through a gradual democratic transition, Easterners are learning through a crash course.

As Germans celebrate this expansion of the democracy to the East, we should not forget that democratization is an open ended process. The Federal Republic–along with other Western democracies–is adjusting to the "participatory revolution." Administrative rules are changing to allow citizens to have more access to policy making and administrative processes.(20) All the new Länder in the East have included provisions for state level referendums in their constitutions. Germany introduced a freedom of information law in xxx, giving citizens more access to governmental information. Even electoral politics has expanded through the introduction of directly elected city mayors.

Some conservative analysts worry that these direct action techniques may disrupt the status quo and challenge the established institutions and procedures of the political system. A politicized public with minorities lobbying intensely for their special interests can strain the political consensus. Special interests cannot substitute for the collective interest. Although these claims hold some merit, they sound all too familiar to residents in the East.

It is probably more accurate to say that the Federal Republic still provides too few opportunities for citizen participation, rather than too many. An electoral system that allows the average voter to make only a handful of political decisions during a four year electoral cycle is hardly a national accomplishment. And despite the increases in political involvement documented here, only a minority of the population regularly participates beyond casting a ballot. Reformists claim that more methods of citizen influence are needed; methods that balance the goals of social order and citizen control, and methods that lie between the extremes of infrequent votes for a fixed party list and protest activities. Citizen-action groups are one good example, but the political process is being opened up in other ways. We are not signaling out Germany in this regard, the same criticism might apply to most established democracies.

In the end, the greater accomplishment of the citizen-action movement (and German unification) might be to expand the democratic process for both Easterners and Westerners. Debates on the changing political structure of the Federal Republic and the need for institutional reform are vehicles for such action.

Key Terms

Citizen action groups
Civil society
Contentious political action
Participatory revolution
Political consumerism

Additional Readings

Barnes, Samuel; Kaase, Max, et al. Political Action: Mass Participation in Five Western Democracies. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1979.

Dalton, Russell. Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 6th ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2013.

DeBardeleben, Joan and Jon Pammett, eds. Activating the Citizen: Dilemmas of Participation in Europe and Canada. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Gabriel, Oscar; Silke Keil and Eric Kerrouch, eds Political Participation in France and Germany. Colchester, UK: ECPR Press, 2012.

Howard, Marc Morje. The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Koch Achim, Martina Wasmer and Peter Schmidt, eds. Politische Partizipation in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Empirische Befunde und theoretische Erklärungen. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2001.

Norris, Pippa. 2002. Democratic Phoenix. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam, Robert. Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Rucht, Dieter, Ruud Koopmans und Friedhelm Neidhardt. Acts of Dissent: New Developments in the Study of Protest. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

Van Deth, Jan et al., eds. Social Capital and European Democracy. New York: Routledge, 1999.


1. Extensive empirical evidence is available only for the West: Anna Merritt and Richard Merritt, Public Opinion in Occupied Germany (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970); Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963).

2. Oscar Gabriel, Silke Keil and Eric Kerrouch, eds Political Participation in France and Germany. (Colchester, UK: ECPR Press, 2012).

3. Almond and Verba, The Civic Culture.

4. Samuel Barnes, Max Kaase, et al. Political Action (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1979), chap. 5.

5. Russell J. Dalton, Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2013), chaps 3,4.

6. Max Kaase, "Partizipative Revolution: Ende der Parteien?" in Joachim Raschke, ed. Bürger und Parteien (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1982).

7. Gabriel, Keil and Kerrouch, eds Political Participation in France and Germany.

8. Mike Dennis, German Democratic Republic (London: Pinter, 1988), pp. 104-113; Antonia Grunenberg, "Bewußtseinslagen und Leitbilder in der DDR," in Deutschland Handbuch (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 1989).

9. Robert Putnam, Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society(New York:\ Oxforde University Press, 2002).

10. The total includes two votes in each of the 2013 Bundestag elections, one vote in the 2014 European\ parliament election, one vote in the state parliament election, one vote in the city council election, and\ one vote in the mayoral election. By comparison, a citizen of Irvine, California could have cast a total of\ several hundred votes during this same period because of the large number of primaries and elected offices in America, and because of California's extensive use of referendums and public bond elections.

11. Verba, Nie, and Kim, Participation and Political Equality.

12. Until the late 1960s, people were hesitant to openly participate in campaigns. However, new citizen groups encouraged non-partisan activity and U.S.-style campaign paraphernalia (buttons, bumper stickers, etc.) became a common feature of German elections. Attendance at campaign rallies shot up from only 11 percent of the public during the 1961 election to 20 percent by the 1976 contest. For the trends in campaign activity see Achim Koch, Martina Wasmer and Peter Schmidt, eds. Politische Partizipation in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Empirische Befunde und theoretische Erklärungen. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2001.

13. Russell Dalton, Citizen Politics: Public Opinions and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial\ Democracies(Washington: CQ Press, 2013), ch. 3.

14. Max Kaase, “The challenge of the ‘Participatory Revolution’ democracies.” International Political\ Science Review 5 (1984): 299-318.

15. Gabriel, Keil and Kerrouch, eds Political Participation in France and Germany.

16. Marc Howard, The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003..

17. Claus Offe, “Social capital in Germany”. In Robert Putnam, ed. Democracies in Flux. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; Bernhard Weßels, “Verbände, Parteien und Interessenvermittlung: Erosion oder Stabilität?” In Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Friedhelm Neidhardt, ed., Die Zukunft der Demokratie, WZB-Jahrbuch 2000, Berlin: Sigma, 2000.

18. Graham Smith, Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Dalton, Citizen Politics, ch. 3.

19. Max Kaase, "Mass participation," in Continuities in Political Action, eds. M. Kent Jennings and Jan van Deth (Berlin: deGruyter, 1988).

20. Wollmann, “The civic community”; Bruce Cain, Russell Dalton and Susan Scarrow, eds. Democracy Transformed? The Expansion of Citizen Access in Advanced Industrial Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

copyright 2014
Russell J. Dalton
University of California, Irvine

July 1, 2014