1st Edition

Activism in the Public Sphere Exploring the Discourse of Political Participation

By Wayne Clark Copyright 2000

    This title was first published in 2000. Drawing upon fieldwork conducted with Amnesty International, the Labour Party, Tenants’ Associations and the Exodus collective, this work examines the nature of political activism. The author combines Habermasian theory and empirical fieldwork to critically analyze the nature of the political public sphere. While adopting a Habermasian approach, Clark recognizes the problems and limitations associated with notions of civil society and communicative action. An empirically formed critical stance is maintained throughout the work. Three main themes are drawn from this research: an analysis of structures of political participation; presentation of a typology of political activism; analysis of the public process of participation. Essential reading for those studying public participation and its relationship to activism, as well as for students of politics, public policy and sociology.

    Contents: Introduction; Investigating political participation in Britain; The public sphere, discourse and political participation; Methodology and research design; Case studies; Structures of political participation; Mapping a typology of political participation and activism; Analysing the process of political participation; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.


    Wayne Clark, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, High Wycombe, Bucks. UK

    ’Wayne Clarke’s book brings together a commitment to the values of grass-roots participation, with a challenging description of its difficult realities in practice. This book makes a valuable contribution to current debates about active citizenship.’ Michael Rustin, University of East London, UK ’...solid...contribution to the study of activism’ Democratization