What is it about?

This study investigates the effect of citizenship norms on protest activity across established and new democracies. It disentangles citizenship norms based on motivations to act, informed by citizenship theories. Along the spectrum of liberal and republican citizenship theories, rights-based, cosmopolitan, active and dutiful citizenship norms are examined. The study utilizes the International Social Survey Program’s (ISSP) Citizenship modules, conducted in 2004 and 2014. It is a repeated cross-sectional survey across 22 countries, using a multi-level regression analysis.

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Why is it important?

The study shows significant influence of both liberal-rooted and republican-rooted conceptions of citizenship norms on protest activism. It further reveals that the weight of these norms differ in different contexts, and over time. Liberal, rights-based norms, for instance, have been more influential across established democracies, whereas republican, active citizenship norms have been prominent across new democracies. Moreover, the magnitude of influence of rights-based norms has increased between 2004-2014 across the former, while their influence has been rather steady across the latter. The study has implications for understanding the influence of different citizenship norms on protest activism in democratic societies. This understanding can help us make sense of protest at a time of democratic erosion.


Since the "liberal" part of liberal democracy has a special emphasis on citizen's rights, and policies which result in democratic erosion often target these rights, the literature on protest activism rightly associates citizens' liberal, rights-based claims to protest. In this study, we broaden this framework and show that citizens' feelings of responsibility towards their community also provide significant motivations to protest. Our study has implications for discussions on democracy and political participation in general, protest activism at a time of democratic erosion in particular.

Cerem Işıl Cenker-Özek
Antalya Bilim University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Rights and responsibilities: Citizenship norms and protest activity in a cross‐country analysis, Social Science Quarterly, July 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.13041.
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