Participation is a central dimension of democracy. Democracy at the national level requires universal participation, that is, maximum inclusiveness. But what about participation at the intraparty, candidate selection, level? This chapter looks at participation as inclusiveness and as turnout, and assesses the quantity versus the quality of participation within political parties. It focuses on the actual impact of democratizing candidate selection methods on patterns of political participation – specifically the political consequences of expanding the selectorate. It points out several disturbing pathologies encountered in the process of democratizing candidate selection, among which are mass registration drives that produce “instant” members who are uninformed and passive, and the inability of the party to offer its activists selective incentives. The chapter concludes by asking whether the positive intentions concerning participatory democracy can lead to the demise of meaningful, qualitative, deliberative participation.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.