Democratic Resource or Democratic Threat? Profiles of Critical and Uncritical Citizens in Comparative Perspective

Democratic Resource or Democratic Threat? Profiles of Critical and Uncritical Citizens in... Comparative Sociology 7 (2008) 4–27 Comparative Sociology CompSoc www.brill.nl/coso © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156913307X233692 Democratic Resource or Democratic Th reat? Profiles of Critical and Uncritical Citizens in Comparative Perspective Brigitte Geissel Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany geissel@wz-berlin.de Abstract Why are some countries democratic and democratize continuously, while others stagnate? According to theories on political culture, citizens’ attitudes are crucial elements. In this context the discussion on critical citizens is gaining prominence: Critical citizens are regarded as a threat to democratic stability or as promoter for democratic reforms. Based on the International Social Survey data (2004), I will contribute some empirical evidence to this controversy. In addition to the com- mon equating of criticism with discontentment, I will also include the normative disposition of “critical” attentiveness. Bivariate and multivariate analyses show that contentment, praised in previous research, or discontentment, as suggested by recent studies, are not the decisive attitudes. It is the political attentiveness which promotes democracies. Keywords public opinion, democracy, democratic attitudes, critical citizen Why are some countries democratic? Moreover, why do some democracies further democratize their system, while others stagnate? Political science has been trying to answer these http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Sociology Brill

Democratic Resource or Democratic Threat? Profiles of Critical and Uncritical Citizens in Comparative Perspective

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1569-1322
eISSN
1569-1330
D.O.I.
10.1163/156913307X233692
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Comparative Sociology 7 (2008) 4–27 Comparative Sociology CompSoc www.brill.nl/coso © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156913307X233692 Democratic Resource or Democratic Th reat? Profiles of Critical and Uncritical Citizens in Comparative Perspective Brigitte Geissel Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany geissel@wz-berlin.de Abstract Why are some countries democratic and democratize continuously, while others stagnate? According to theories on political culture, citizens’ attitudes are crucial elements. In this context the discussion on critical citizens is gaining prominence: Critical citizens are regarded as a threat to democratic stability or as promoter for democratic reforms. Based on the International Social Survey data (2004), I will contribute some empirical evidence to this controversy. In addition to the com- mon equating of criticism with discontentment, I will also include the normative disposition of “critical” attentiveness. Bivariate and multivariate analyses show that contentment, praised in previous research, or discontentment, as suggested by recent studies, are not the decisive attitudes. It is the political attentiveness which promotes democracies. Keywords public opinion, democracy, democratic attitudes, critical citizen Why are some countries democratic? Moreover, why do some democracies further democratize their system, while others stagnate? Political science has been trying to answer these

Journal

Comparative SociologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: DEMOCRATIC ATTITUDES; CRITICAL CITIZEN; DEMOCRACY; PUBLIC OPINION

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