Political Participation Patterns in Lithuania: Alienated or Active Citizens?

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Jurate IMBRASAITE , Department of Sociology, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Citizen participation in the process of political governance is an essential condition for the functioning of democracy and ensuring the stability of society. Political participation usually is expressed through a number of mechanisms inherent in the process of democratic government that help citizens to voice their interests, preferences and needs, and to pressure state officials to take into account their opinions. Active participation in the process of democratic governance provides ordinary citizens with a possibility to have influence on the appointment and monitoring of politicians and civil servants.

The focus of this paper is to investigate the impact of structural and individual factors on political participation patterns in Lithuania. What groups of citizens in Lithuania may be distinguished in accordance with their level of interest in politics, political efficacy and participation in political acts? What are the factors that determine the differences between types of citizens? What are the causes and explanations of different patterns of political participation between types of citizens?

Based on the survey conducted in Lithuania in 2010 and 60 semi-structured interviews, the paper draws conclusions that  three  types of citizenship (active, voters, passive) may be identified according to interest in politics, political efficacy and participation in political acts. From theoretical perspectives of active traditional and monitorial citizenship, the characteristics of identified groups are mixed, because of socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Lithuania.