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Unconventional Political Action

Is unconventional participation a natural right of citizens in a democracy? Does it have equal legitimacy with conventional activity, or should unconventional political behavior be limited so special circumstances? If you agree with the latter point of view, explain what circumstances justify this sort of action. Is violent political action ever justified in a democracy?

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Unconventional Political Participation

The democratic ideal is that a government must be run by the people. Essentially this means participation in the governance process which is most expressed in the exercise of suffrage - the most formal way of participation. Private Citizens exercise political participation in a democracy via actions that are aimed at influencing or supporting the government and the political process. Political participation can be delineated to 2 types - conventional and unconventional. Conventional participation is very much routine and uses existing government channels to influence or support government action. Voting is one of them, directly engaging via the right channels government officials as well as government agencies on issues that concern them is one of them as well. Participating in open forums, contributing towards the funds of a political party or a candidate, directly engaging local politicians to affect changes in the immediate community is also seen as conventional participation. Unconventional participation are those political actions that seek to influence or change government action by the employment of unusual/unconventional methods that directly challenge or defy government power as well as popular dominant culture. This is usually a stressful set of actions for both sides and in general, Americans usually disapprove of them for they can be disruptive. But citizens who distrust the government but trust the ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a 1,028-word narrative that explains, discusses and provides example of unconventional political participation. It is explored in relation to conventional political activity as well as the many ways in which it might be taken up as a form of political action. A position is then presented in relation to unconventional political action's legitimacy vis-a-vis the demands of social order in a democracy. References are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.