Susan Stokes and Selim Erdem Aytaç- "Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests"

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Susan Stokes and Selim Erdem Aytaç

"This beautifully written book offers a simple theory to explain popular behavior in elections and protests. Aytaç and Stokes ask why people are sometimes not dissuaded from participation even when it becomes more difficult or dangerous. Why Bother? gives us hope that there are critical brakes on democratic backsliding. It comes at just the right moment." ––Nicholas Valentino, University of Michigan

Authors Susan Stokes and Selim Erdem Aytaç discuss Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and ProtestsA Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with The Chicago Center on Democracy

At 57th Street Books

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: 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? The authors of Why Bother? offer a new theory of why people take part in collective action in politics, and test it in the contexts of voting and protesting. They 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. 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, including the United States, Britain, Brazil, Sweden, and Turkey.

About the Authors: Susan Stokes is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Chicago Center on Democracy. Her research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright, the American Philosophical Society, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and the Latin American Research Review.

Selim Erdem Aytaç is an assistant professor of political science in the Department of International Relations at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in December 2014. He is the recipient of the Young Scientist Award (2016) of Science Academy (Turkey) and of the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award (2018). His research interests lie in political behavior with a focus on democratic accountability and political participation. He is also involved in a number of research projects on Turkish political behavior and public opinion.

Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E. 57th Street
Chicago,, IL 60637