Mass Politics: Essay of Institutional Reconceptualization

Mass Politics:
Essay of Institutional Reconceptualization

Patrushev S.V.,

Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Leading Researcher, Head of the Department of Comparative Political Studies, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor of Russian Foreign Trade Academy,

elibrary_id: 72426 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2016.02.10

For citation:

Patrushev S.V., Mass Politics: Essay of Institutional Reconceptualization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No. 2. P. 131-151. (In Russ.).


In the article the authors attempt to re-conceptualize the idea of “mass politics” that is necessary for a more adequate understanding of the causes, factors and characteristics of growing mass political activity in Russia and around the world. Mass politics is viewed as the processes, which take place within the institutional space of mobilization, representation, participation and action. It is proposed to differentiate types of mass politics according to a distinction between concepts of “mass politics”, “politics of citizens”, and “politics of multitude”. The criteria used to categorize specific forms of mass activity are selected. The politics of citizens is defined by its’ participants orientation towards fulfillment of their citizen rights and freedoms, or towards fight for a provision / extension / practicing thereof. The individuals getting into the politics of masses, are in their pre-civil, pre-legal condition, they essentially dismantle (modern) politics. The politics of multitude is practiced in an extra-state space of freedom and equality, where an individual is fulfilling human rights. Taking S. Rokkan’s models of institutionalization and cleavages as a starting point, the authors elaborate a model which describes the foundations of mass mobilization and institutionalization of mass politics; they list a number of parameters which have to be analyzed to estimate the possibility of development of the politics of citizens, or of the politics of masses. Some of these parameters are verified using data from the mass survey conducted in the summer of 2014.It is demonstrated that in Russia there are preconditions for the emergence both of the politics of masses and of the politics of citizens. The survey data indicate some risks of individuals’ transforming into a mass; at the same time, there are groups of respondents who have to some extent mastered the citizens’ roles. Formation of a civic identity – empowerment – is a key condition for a democratic transformation of the political regime in Russia.



masses; citizens; multitude; types of mass politics; political representation; political mobilization; political participation; political action; democracy; re-politization; Stein Rokkan; institutional model; identity; cleavages; empowerment.

Content No. 2, 2016

See also:

Shestopal Ye.B.,
Introducing the section. The human dimension of politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No6

Smorgunov L.V.,
Political identity and the concept of the political. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No6

Pushkaryova G.V.,
Political space: problems of theoretical conceptualization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No2

Petukhov V.V.,
The generation of the «2000s»: ideological orientations and political participation. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No4

Smorgunov L.V.,
Political between: the phenomenon of liminality in contemporary politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No5



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