Project Abstract

ERC Starting Grant Project

Link to Research Proposal Summary Document







Project Title

Participation and Representation in the Digital Age (PRD):

Participation Repertoires in an Era of Unequal Representation

Principal Investigator (PI)

Jennifer Oser

Planned Project Duration

2023-2028 (60 months)

Application submitted January 2022 and awarded November 2022

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Project Abstract

This project addresses the question of how people incorporate increasingly prevalent nonelectoral political acts into individual-level repertoires of participation; and how well represented these different types of political participators are. At a time of growing concern about unequal representation in democracies, two conflicting global trends over the last several decades highlight the importance of these questions: a clear decline in voter turnout, especially among lower status groups; and evidence of increased nonelectoral participation, especially among higher status groups. To assess how these trends in political participation affect patterns of representation, PRD’s theoretical framework integrates new approaches for investigating the links between individuals’ participation repertoires (i.e., how individuals combine voting, protest, online activism) and objective and subjective representational outcomes.

PRD’s work packages employ a multi-method approach: “Political acts and political participators” (WP1) analyzes separate surveys and a harmonized dataset and includes methodological innovations using new techniques for identifying participation repertoires. “Participation-representation connection” (WP2) investigates the connections between the political acts and political participators analyzed in WP1 and representational outcomes, and integrates these findings with qualitative fieldwork with activists who focus on unequal representation. Finally, “Mobilizing and organizing low-status groups” (WP3) conducts novel experimental studies using Twitter panel data and field experiments to identify interventions with the potential to produce more equal representational outcomes in the future. By combining an original theoretical framework and methodological innovations, PRD will conduct a uniquely comprehensive empirical investigation of participation repertoires, with a focus on mechanisms that can reduce inequalities in participation and representation.

PRD's International Expert Network
Colleagues who agreed by January 2022 to serve in an advisory role to PRD

With gratitude for generous responses of support in the holiday season of December 2021 during the Omicron wave: 

Stephen Ansolabahere (Harvard University), André Blais (University of Montreal), Russell Dalton (University of California, Irvine), Ruth Dassonneville (University of Montreal); Michael Delli Carpini (University of Pennsylvania), Joshua Dubrow (Polish Academy of Sciences), Aina Gallego (University of Barcelona), Markus Gangl (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main), Rachel Gibson (University of Manchester), Marco Giugni (University of Geneva), Maria Grasso (Queen Mary University of London), Hahrie Han (Johns Hopkins University), Marc Hooghe (University of Leuven), Swen Hutter (Freie Universität Berlin), Shiro Kuriwaki (Yale University), David Lazer (Northeastern University), Jan Leighley (American University), Noam Lupu (Vanderbilt University), Sofie Marien (Leuven University), Daniel Oberski (Utrecht University), Mikael Persson (University of Gothenburg), G. Bingham Powell (University of Rochester), Anne Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen), Brian Schaffner (Tufts University), Frederick Solt (University of Iowa), Yannis Theocharis (Technical University of Munich), Kateřina Vráblíková (University of Bath), Chris Wlezien (University of Texas at Austin), and SDR project PIs: J. Craig Jenkins (Ohio University), Irina Tomescu-Dubrow, and K. Slomczynski (Polish Academy of Sciences).