PARTIREP Workshop “Conceptualizing Political Participation” location:Mannheim date:25-26 September 2014
Van Deth’s (2014) comprehensive ‘conceptual map of political participation’ has reinstated a lively debate about the concept of political participation. One important question raised is whether it actually achieves its main goal of unambiguously identifying and classifying emerging, complex types of participation, like online political activism (Hosch-Dayican, 2014) – or lifestyle politics. Therefore, the goal of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it aims to evaluate the usefulness of van Deth’s (2014) approach for the analysis of lifestyle politics. However, such an evaluation requires a strong notion of what activities lifestyle politics exactly refers to, while a comprehensive overview and classification of different types of lifestyle politics is still missing from the literature. The second goal of this paper is therefore to systematically identify and classify different types of lifestyle politics described in empirical studies. This literature review indicates that lifestyle politics are often enacted throughout different private, public and institutional arenas, and that they are often targeted at various social and political actors at the same time. Applying van Deth’s conceptual map to this empirical reality, then, suggests that it does not seem to grasp its complexity sufficiently. This paper proposes how van Deth’s framework could be adjusted so that it does what it aims to do: to grasp the increased complexity of expanding political participation repertoires.