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Dissatisfied Citizens: An Asset to or a Liability on the Democratic Functioning of Society?
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (CIVIC, Center for Studies on Civic Engagement)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4294-2042
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7009-5955
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0185-8805
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 38, no 4, 410-436 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Past research has shown that, although a majority of citizens in democracies support the idea of democracy as a form of governance, some tend to be distrustful of democratic institutions and express dissatisfaction with the way democracy works. It is argued in this article that to better understand the role of various groups of dissatisfied citizens in the democratic functioning of a society, one should examine their democratic characteristics. Based on youth's dissatisfaction with the performance of political institutions and the principles of democracy, four distinct groups of citizens are identified. These groups are then compared in terms of their political engagement, knowledge and interest, values and attitudes, and disposition to break the law. The results showed that youths with high levels of principle- and performance-driven dissatisfaction were less likely to participate in politics, less knowledgeable and interested in political issues, and more likely to break the law, even if people got hurt compared with other groups. In contrast, youths who were only dissatisfied with the performance of democratic institutions were more likely to participate in politics, and had higher tolerance towards immigrants, and political interest and knowledge. They were also more likely, peacefully and without harming other people, to break the law to change society. Overall, by examining distinct groups of dissatisfied citizens and their democratic characteristics, this study contributes to the general debate on the role of dissatisfied citizens in democracies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. Vol. 38, no 4, 410-436 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46470DOI: 10.1111/1467-9477.12051ISI: 000364650000006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84946490843OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-46470DiVA: diva2:868990
Note

Funding Agencies:

Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation

Available from: 2015-11-12 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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