Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices : The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies: The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies

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Oxford University Press, UK, 18.03.2004 - 256 Seiten
Most democratic citizens today are now questioning the very pillars of representative democracy. Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices uses an unprecedented array of cross-national public opinion surveys to document the erosion of political support in virtually all Western democracies. These trends are making governing more difficult, but also fueling demands for political reform that may lead to a further expansion of the democratic process and a new democratic relationship between citizens and their governments. - ;Most democratic citizens today are distrustful of politicians, political parties, and political institutions. Where once democracies expected an allegiant public, citizens now question the very pillars of representative democracy. Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices documents the erosion of political support in virtually all advanced industrial democracies. Assembling an unprecedented array of cross-national public opinion data, this study traces the current challenges to democracy primary to changing citizen values and rising expectations. These critical citizens are concentrated among the young, the better educated, and the politically sophisticated. At the same time, the evidence debunks claims that such trends are a function of scandals, poor performance, and other government failures. Changing public are born from the successful social modernization of these nations. A creedal passion for democracy is sweeping across the Western democracies, and people now expect more of their governments. This study concludes by examining the consequences of these changing images of government. The author finds that these expectations are making governing more difficult, but also fueling demands for political reform. The choices that democracies make in response to these challenges may lead to a further expansion of the democratic process and a new relationship between citizens and their government - ;We are not alone, writes Professor Russell Dalton in this sobering new book: the steady decline in citizen support for democratic systems and institutions....is affecting almost all advanced industrial democracies. Dating from the early 1960s, roughly the time of John Kennedys assassination, citizen trust in government, politicians, and political institutions in the U.S. and its sister democracies has marched downward with dismaying regularity. As demands on government increase and become more complex, rising expectations are more difficult to satisfy and democratic citizens are increasingly dissatisfied. Eroding trust in government threatens government legitimacy, the very bedrock of democracy. Professor Daltons dramatic findings should be required reading for every elected official and for every citizen concerned with democracys future. - Gary Hart, United States Senator (Ret.)

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Über den Autor (2004)

Russell J. Dalton is a Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy and Professor of Political Science, University of California, Irvine.

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