The rapidly changing European political environment poses a big challenge not only to elected representatives but also to scholars. In the paper, the author elucidates the theoretical approaches to civic participation. Consequently, a theory of participatory democracy, which is heavily neglected in the Slovak academia, is presented through the prism of Carole Pateman’s, C.B. Macpherson’s and Benjamin Barber’s writings. Their ideas on civic engagement in public life appear to be noteworthy again, especially in the light of the changing conditions of democratic citizenship – particularly in regards to the EU-wide decline in voter turnout, increasing income inequality, downgrade of social solidarity and cooperation, growing intolerance or dissatisfaction with representative democracy.