|This Special Online Themed Issue of Political Studies for 2017 brings together a wide range of papers focused on questions of democracy, participation and citizenship. The collection has a powerful empirical basis as well as exploring a range of conceptual issues in the field of political representation.
In the first of our more empirically focused papers, Loes Aaldering considers the under-representation of the less well educated in the Netherlands. Following this, Sergiu Gherghina and Brigitte Geissel assess the relationship between citizen attitudes to decision-makers and their forms and level of political participation in the German context. Aleš Kudrnáč and Pat Lyons next use data from the Czech Republic to examine the effects of parents upon their children’s political participation, while Henrik Christensen et al. look at the impact of deliberation upon discursive participation in a Finnish setting.Markus Wagner and Thomas Meyer develop our theme by considering the changing role of parties of the radical right in Europe, while Luis Ramiro and Raul Gomez study the case of Podemos and the radical left in Spain. The next two papers, by Margit van Wessel and Sveinung Arnesen, take a rather different view of citizen disillusionment and ‘stealth democracy’. The paper by Gijs Schumacher and Nathalie Giger looks at leaders and those who choose them, and the issue closes with an evaluation by Carlo Invernizzi Accetti and Ian Zuckerman of the dynamics of militant democracy.