Why are we currently so disenchanted with democratic politics? Voter turnout is low, trust in politicians is declining, and as a consequence, political citizenship is rejected as too demanding and of little real value. ‘Participation and democracy’ links citizenship and democratic politics in a systematic fashion. Are we justified in our criticisms of modern Western democracy? Much of this criticism comes from the imagined superiority of a supposedly ‘ideal’ democracy, which simply does not exist. The reinvigoration of citizenship depends on revitalizing rather than diminishing political participation. With that will come a greater sense of belonging and commitments to rights as benefits.