Title : Democratic Participation in Bangladesh: Does It Vary Across Ethnicity, Religion and Gender

Authors : Sk Tawfique M Haque, Md. Akram Hossain

Abstract : Civic participation is a broad indicator of democratic culture in a contemporary society. The testimony to a functional democracy in a country can be traced by citizens’ participation in political functions. This paper, in particular, addresses two research questions: (i) What is the level (in terms of both quantity and quality) of participation of Bangladeshi people in political activities? (ii) Does this participation vary across the demographic identity of citizens? In order to answer the above questions, data from a survey carried out among 2795 persons in Bangladesh in 2014 were used. Two broad themes have been applied in this paper to assess the intensity and quality of civic participation in Bangladesh: use of voice mechanism in ensuring public accountability and political engagements of citizens. Through civic associations many citizens take part to raise an issue collectively, or make voices through petitions an issue which may concern public interest into public domain. The survey finding revealed that citizens of Bangladesh quite satisfactorily participated (more than 89%, n?=?2608) in voting process. However, the process of collective thinking and participation in other political activities is, however, low or such processes cannot adequately attract individual citizens in recent times. In this paper, it was assumed that the intensity and quality of participation would vary across the demographic identity such as gender, religion, ethnicity, income, age and education. Minority groups, disadvantaged group and backward population might be left out from political engagement. But the findings show mixed results which ascertain that demographic identity does not create much difference in democratic participation of citizens. This may be because of effective social inclusion policies and rigorous efforts of government in Bangladesh to make a gender balance, mainstream the religious and ethnic minorities and other backward groups in different public spheres in order to ensure equal rights for all and open an avenue for more socio-political engagement.

Journal : Volume : Year : 2019 Issue :
Pages : City : Singapore Edition : Editors : Madhushree Sekher, Radu Carciumaru
Publisher : Springer ISBN : 978-981-32-9759-3 Book : Including the Excluded in South Asia: Power, Politics and Policy Perspectives from the Region Chapter : Democratic Participation in Bangladesh: Does It Vary Across Ethnicity, Religion and Gender
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