SOCIOLOGY TALKS: Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests by Selim Erdem Aytaç (Koç University) on May 22

Author: CSSH

SOCIOLOGY TALKS by Selim Erdem Aytaç (Koç University)

22 May (Wednesday), 12:00-13:30 

Room: CASE 127


Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests

Why do vote-suppression efforts sometimes fail? Why does police repression of demonstrators sometimes turn localized protests into massive, national movements? How do politicians and activists manipulate people's emotions to get them involved? In this book we offer a new theory of why people take part in collective action in politics, and test it in the contexts of voting and protesting. We develop the idea that just as there are costs of participation in politics, there are also costs of abstention -- intrinsic and psychological, but no less real for that. That abstention can be psychically costly helps explain real-world patterns that are anomalies for existing theories, such as that sometimes increases in costs of participation are followed by more participation, not less. The book draws on a wealth of survey data, interviews, and experimental results from a range of countries, included the United States, Britain, Brazil, Sweden, and Turkey. 


Bio: S. Erdem Aytaç is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 2014. Dr. Aytaç’s research interests lie in political behavior with a focus on democratic accountability and political participation.