Participatory democratic theorists have long claimed that political participation improves citizens and helps to integrate them into the political community. In recent years political participation has been advocated as a way of reducing alienation, particularly among the young. This experimental study assesses the effects of campaign participation on the attitudes and opinions of a group of young people, particularly attitudes of alienation. Employing Q methodology, this study examines the attitudinal impact of campaign participation on 57 subjects through the use of precampaign and postcampaign Q sorts. By comparing the results with a control group it was determined that campaign participation does result in greater attitudinal shift for participants than for nonparticipants; however, the changes that occurred resulted in shifts away from alienation (as democratic theorists predict) and shifts in the direction of greater alienation (contrary to predictions).
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2004
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