Citizenship, Involvement, Democracy: An International Comparison
Major goal of this part of the project is the application of the Common Core questionnaire of the ESF-network to a representative sample of the German population. The Common Core applies a very broad conception of 'involvement'. On the one hand, it contains numerous questions on political and social involvement based on conventional approaches in this area. On the other hand, democratic theories recently emphasised modes of citizens' participation which go beyond the traditional concepts of both 'conventional', institutionalised modes of participation and 'unconventional', non-institutionalised protest activities. In particular, the concepts of 'consumer' democracy, and of 'direct' or 'small' democracy, based upon an active relationship between public service providers, on the one hand, and their clients, on the other, have shifted the attention from the realm of 'big' politics to the immediate concerns of day-to-day life. The coverage of all these areas in a Common Core question-naire, conducted in many different European societies, provides the opportunity to test several crucial questions posed by current debates about Social Capital, Civil Society and the future of the welfare state.