Conclusions: The Growth of Critical Citizens and Its Consequences

Pippa Norris

in Critical Citizens

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295686
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600043 | DOI:
Conclusions: The Growth of Critical Citizens and Its Consequences

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This concluding chapter considers four common claims that are made concerning the consequences of any erosion of confidence in the institutions of representative democracy and. the growth of critical citizens.

First, growing cynicism about government may deter conventional political participation, thus discouraging electoral turnout, political activism, and civic engagement; second, alienation with the regime may affect protest politics, fostering unconventional activism, support for anti‐state extremist movements, and even occasional incidents of urban terrorism; third, a deep reservoir of public trust is generally thought to encourage voluntary compliance with the law, thus enhancing the ability of governments to pass and implement effective legislation and raise revenues, without the need for coercion; and lastly, growing tensions between ideal and reality may undermine the stability of regimes, increasing the pressures for political reform in established democracies and hindering the consolidation process in newer democracies. A critical examination is made of support for and against these claims, and the implications for strengthening transitional, consolidating, and established democracies are considered.

Keywords: consolidating democracies; critical citizens; democracies; democratic institutions; established democracies; institutional confidence; newer democracies; political participation; political reform; protest politics; public trust; regime stability; representative democracy; transitional democracies

Chapter.  5893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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