Democracy and Development in the Making: Civic Participation in Armenia; Challenges, Opportunities

Sargsyan, Gayane (2016) Democracy and Development in the Making: Civic Participation in Armenia; Challenges, Opportunities. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


This research focuses on civic participation and its role in an emerging democracy context, and examines the forms, patterns, trends, obstacles to and opportunities for civic participation, as well as the impact of civic participation on democratization and development processes in Armenia, a post-soviet country in the South Caucasus, that has embarked on simultaneous transition toward democracy and free market economy since its independence in 1991. The dissertation suggests that civic participation is a key ingredient for successful transformations and effective reforms in both political and economic sectors in the post-soviet context of Armenia, and, therefore, more attention, as well as more vigorous efforts and resources should be directed to building civic capacity of the people and organizations in this setting. It is argued, that while, obviously, not a panacea for all development and democratization related challenges, civic engagement has a strong potential to foster those processes and contribute to the achievement of more effective, inclusive and sustainable solutions in the areas of democracy promotion and development in the transition countries. The original contribution of the thesis is an empirical study of civic participation in Armenia and assessment of its determinants and the impact on democracy and development related outcomes in the country. The primary research includes a study of civic participation in 10 rural and small urban communities across the country, and provides comprehensive information and insights into civic participation forms, pattern, determinants, obstacles and opportunities at the community level. Civic participation is further studied by examining the major civic initiatives and campaigns that took place in the country over the recent five years (2010-2015) and assessment of their outcomes and impact. The study looks closely at the determinants of civic participation, both the individual level factors and the obstacles and opportunities provided by the institutional context, and, in particular, examines the relationship of civic participation with social capital, civic education, and use of internet and communication technology (ICT). Civic participation habits and trends among the youth are explored by means of surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014. An innovative measure – a Civic Participation Score (CP Score) is introduced and computed, based on a pre-defined and operationalized set of indicators, and a Civic Participation Index (CP Index) is calculated for monitoring the changes, in separate indicator categories and overall, and analysing civic participation trends over time. The research sheds light on civic participation practice and trends in Armenia and builds a framework for analysis of civic engagement in an emerging democracy context, by identifying the participants, their motives, forms of civic engagement, its impact, as well as challenges and opportunities for participation. The study highlights the specific needs and opportunities for further civic capacity building and lays down a roadmap for further research and action in this direction.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Local Development and Global Dynamics (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:25
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/04 SCIENZA POLITICA
Uncontrolled Keywords:civic participation, democracy, development, social capital, transition countries
Repository Staff approval on:04 May 2016 14:43

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