Principal researchers
Grants and funding

The project is funded by a £174,285 European Research Council Advanced Grant, awarded from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2018.

Key publications

Saunders, Clare. "Anti-politics in action? Exposing measurement dilemmas in the study of unconventional political participation" (2014), Political Research Quarterly

Saunders, Clare, et al. "Occupy as a free space: Mobilization processes and outcomes" (2014), Sociological Research Online

POLPART - How citizens influence politics

The POLPART project aims to examine political participation across new and older democracies, in collaboration with team members from eight different countries. 

 

Fewer people than ever vote, or join political parties: do these people join protests instead? If so, why? Understanding how and why people take part in politics is important, as it can help us to build more democratic societies.

POLPART is especially concerned to understand what motivates individuals to participate in formal and informal kinds of politics, in other words, voting and protest.

The project aims to provide insights which might help stem the rising tide of dissatisfaction with formal avenues of participation. 

Some people think that protesters are people who may be slightly irrational, or can't be bothered to engage with formal politics; but we've show that the stalwarts - the people who protest the most - are actually quite often people who are engaged in formal politics as well.

Professor Clare Saunders

The project is co-ordinated by Bert Klandermans at the VU-University, Amsterdam, with collaborators in - apart from the UK - the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Brazil and Argentina.

Professor Clare Saunders from the ESI is the lead team member of the UK case, and the project themes relate closely to her teaching on the Politics and International Relations courses at Penryn Campus. Her findings suggest that rather than being disengaged, those people who protest most frequently and intensely are also among those most well connected to formal politics.

Professor Saunders said: "Some people think that protesters are people who may be slightly irrational, or can't be bothered to engage with formal politics; but we've show that the stalwarts - the people who protest the most - are actually quite often people who are engaged in formal politics as well."

The project began in October 2013, and will end in September 2018.