Politics and Governance in the UK

Second edition

by Michael Moran

Extra Resources - Chapter 13

The classic study of participation in Britain, and the essential starting point for any study of participation and British democracy, is Parry, Moyser and Day (1992). And now equally important is an ambitious study of the ‘new’ participation in Pattie, Seyd and Whiteley (2004), early results summarised in Pattie, Seyd and Whiteley (2003). Putnam (2000) created a sensation when it appeared, and while it concerned the United States aroused wide interest in the UK. Hence the importance of Maloney et al (2000), referred to in the text of this chapter, is that it suggests a considerably brighter condition for social capital than might be inferred from Putnam. Putnam’s theory, though assiduously marketed, has not worn well. Cain et al (2003) is an important collection of comparative essays which describes the wider social forces reshaping participation, and thus illuminates a key theme of this chapter - that participation has not declined, but changed. Much of the reading covering subsequent chapters, notably on parties and on voting, is highly relevant to this subject. In particular, the landmark studies of party membership by Whiteley, Seyd and collaborators are vital: see Whiteley, Seyd and Richardson (1994) (1992) and Seyd and Whiteley (2002); and Whiteley and Seyd (2002). Wood (2000) is a very good study of an unorthodox form of participation, by medical patients, while Weir and Beetham (1999) is important on participation and democracy. Denver (2002) is good on participation through the vote.

The best web pages on this subject used to be provided by the ESRC Democracy and Participation Programme, with links to individual projects, but the conclusion of this programme means that the web pages no longer exist, a common problem with web sources. However, the site of the ESRC data archive provides details of all archived data collected as part of ESRC programmes: it is not the easiest site to navigate, see http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/. The Institute for Social Change site at the University of Manchester
(http://www.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/socialchange/) which has links to Putnam is worth exploring. It is also worth browsing for this subject the site of the Electoral Commission: see details in next chapter.