Political participation as an engine of social solidarity: A sceptical view

Shlomi Segall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Political theorists sometimes advocate the intensification of citizens' participation in politics, on the grounds that this serves as an engine for the cultivation of social solidarity and civic virtue. I argue against such an initiative and set out the case for a more nuanced examination of the effect of particular modes of political participation on social solidarity, in light of recent empirical literature. Against the assertions of the theorists in question, the research reveals that political participation per se does not cultivate the said virtues, whereas entrusting citizens with deliberating and deciding specific policy issues (specifically in the form of citizens' juries or CJs) does. Finally, it is argued that there is a rather limited scope to the implementation of deliberative bodies of the kind that cultivates solidarity. Consequently, intensifying political participation is not a reliable means through which social solidarity can be cultivated.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)362-378
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


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