Citizen Competence Revisited

Citizen Competence Revisited Political Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 3, September 2001 ( 2002) James H. Kuklinski This issue went into production about two months after the events of Sep- tember 11, 2001. During this two-month period, American citizens became far more visible than theyusuallyare. Almost daily, we watched media reports of ordinarypeople doing extraordinarythings: giving food and money, stand- ing in line to give blood, driving to New York and Washington to offer their assistance, to name a few. Anyone watching these developments could only marvel at the qualityof performance. Political scientists have painted a starklydifferent picture of those same citizens. To be sure, theyhave evaluated citizen performance under ordinary, not extraordinary, times, and they have applied different criteria—do citizens possess belief systems, do theyknow the relevant political facts, do theypay attention to policydebates? Nevertheless, the contrast between the image of citizens that emerged after September 11 and the image that has emerged from 40 years of research is remarkable. The authors in this issue undertake a timelyreexamination of citizen perfor- mance. JefferyMondak, in collaboration with Belinda Creel Davis, continues his research on the measurement of citizen knowledge and concludes that citizens are more knowledgeable than popular measurement techniques sug- gest. Drawing Political Behavior Springer Journals

Citizen Competence Revisited

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 2001 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
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