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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 7, 2019

The Gamification of Political Participation

Wulf Loh ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Political participation lies at the heart of normative democratic theory. To foster participatory interactions between citizens, some advocates and designers are resorting to gamification as the use of psycho-motivational involvement strategies from games in non-game contexts. The hope is that through gamification mechanisms, citizens will be drawn more easily towards participation platforms, apps, and digital services, as well as remain there longer, thereby effectively enhancing participation numbers and time. In this article, I will explore the potential problems of these involvement strategies, namely the worry that they may be able to undermine citizen’s individual and political autonomy by manipulating them into participating. Depending on the severity of the psycho-motivational effect as well as the covertness of the mechanism, gamification may constitute inadmissible forms of paternalism.

Award Identifier / Grant number: 16SV7944

Funding statement: This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Funder Id:, Grant Number: 16SV7944).


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Published Online: 2019-11-07
Published in Print: 2019-11-18

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