Factors associated with political participation in eight southwestern Manitoba towns

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Bessant, Kenneth C.
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Political researchers have long been concerned with the extent and quality of democratic political participation. As a result, the study of participation has become a crucial issue, in the sense that it has been recognized as a central aspect of both democratic theory and democratic political formula. Consequently, recent works have compared political participation in a variety of democratic polities, in order to better understand participation within the context of cross-national and sub-national comparisons. In spite of contemporary interest, however, two basic deficiencies remain in the literature on political participation: the lack of clarity over the meaning of participation itself, and the absence of any generally recognizable theory concerning the explanation of varying processes of politicization. In an attempt to at least partially address each of these problem-areas, the present study assumed a replicative stance in regard to the investigation of political activity... As a result, the present study makes use of an urban-oreinted survey research design and the theoretical framework in the pursuit of two research objectives, relative to the study of participation. 1. Is political participation a uni-dimensional and/or multi-dimensional phenomenon, and 2. What are the various processes which lead citizens to become active political participants? What is of special importance, in regard to the present study of participation, is that each of these research objectives was addressed in the context of a rural southwestern Manitoba sample... In the final analysis, the present study revealed that the data retrieved from the eight rural communities, for the most part documented the relevance of urban-oriented theory to the explanation of rural politics. The analysis also indicated that the variables which proved to be the best predictors of of rural political activity, such as political attentiveness, political efficacy, organizational membership and leadership activity, were generally the same as those identified in the past, by urban participation studies...