Participation has mostly been studied from the standpoint of institutional analysis whose reflection focus was the “deliberating” citizen. Yet calls for participation are many and complex and are aimed at the citizen, the inhabitant, the user, as much as at the person. Among such calls are those of the new public management, of blogs and 2.0 Web culture, of newly set-up organizations devoted to debates around ideas or around community-involvement in a post-Welfare State regime. These admonitions concern various forms of participation, calling for both theoretical and empirical analysis in order to understand the relationship people have with their communities and society’s democratic institutions.
As some bewail civic disengagement and others question representative democracy, analyzing people’s workaday social and political practices becomes a major issue in order to meet the challenge of a social life that integrates concerns for common goods.