Delia Baldassarri

in The Simple Art of Voting

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199828241
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979783 | DOI:

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Chapter 8 summarizes the various findings and discusses them in relation to the debate over the measurement of political sophistication and the more general issue of the low political literacy of citizens in democratic societies. In general, the Italian population is described as divided between citizens who are highly capable of handling the political debate either through classical ideological categories—the utilius—or through an effective simplification of the political competition—the amicus—and citizens who are peripheral to politics, and do not possess the instruments necessary for making sense of it—the aliens. The strategy used to build the typology of voting heuristics is offered as a general interpretive framework for analyzing decision-making strategies in political environments characterized by a multiplicity of parties and a mixed electoral system. This approach offers new bases for estimating levels of political competence, and for measuring the political sophistication of the mass public. Finally, a number of ideas are put forward as to how experimental research might advance the study of cognitive processes.

Keywords: mass publics; political sophistication; political disaffection; experimental design

Chapter.  5995 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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