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Dissatisfied citizens: an asset or a burden in democratic functioning of a society?
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Youth & Society)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4294-2042
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7009-5955
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0185-8805
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Past research has shown that, whereas the majority of people in democracies support the idea of democracy as a form of governance, some citizens are dissatisfied with the democratic institutions and the way democracy performs. In this paper, we examined democratic characteristics of dissatisfied youths to understand the role they play in the democratic functioning of a society. Based on youth’s dissatisfaction with the performance of political institutions and the principles of democracy, we identified four groups distinct of citizens. Then, we compared these groups in terms of their political engagement, knowledge and interest, values and attitudes, and law breaking attitudes. 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 laws, even if people got hurt compared to other three groups. In contrast, youths who were only dissatisfied with the performance of democratic institutions were more likely to participate in politics, and have higher humanistic values and tolerance towards immigrants. By examining distinct groups of dissatisfied citizens and their democratic characteristics, the current study contributes to the general debate on the role of dissatisfied citizens in democracies.

Keywords [en]
dissatisfied citizen, critical citizen, performance-driven dissatisfaction, principledriven dissatisfaction, democracy, attitudes to law-breaking
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-35330DiVA, id: diva2:723846
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-06-11 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Transcending dichotomies: The many faces of youth dissatisfaction in democracy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transcending dichotomies: The many faces of youth dissatisfaction in democracy
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the recent scholarly debates over changing citizenship attitudes and norms in advanced democracies, especially when it comes to rising levels of political dissatisfaction, opinion about the political role of young people is divided. For some scholars, they represent a driving force behind the development of new kinds of citizenship values, and constitute an asset to the functioning of political systems. For others, they pose a potential threat to the health of representative democracy, because of their increasing levels of dissatisfaction and civic disengagement. By contrast with these two competing approaches, this dissertation advances the argument that a more balanced view of young people’s political activities is called for. Adopting a quantitative approach, it aims therefore to contribute to better theoretical and empirical understanding of young people’s political dissatisfaction, and to explain their role in a democratic society. Considering different aspects of dissatisfaction, the current dissertation contributes to previous research in significant ways. Among others things, it adds to our knowledge by showing empirically that, in terms of political dissatisfaction, young people constitute a heterogeneous group, with different political roles and profiles, ranging from the healthy to the more threatening. Moreover, it contributes to previous research by highlighting the crucial role played by fair teachers in providing linkages between young citizens and the wider political system. All in all, the findings in the current dissertation have implications for the ongoing debate over the role and significance of young people in the functioning of democratic systems, and also for political socialization research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2014. p. 98
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 35
Keywords
political dissatisfaction, adolescents, critical citizens, procedural fairness, political attitudes
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34732 (URN)978-91-7529-022-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-05, Prismahuset, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-15 Created: 2014-04-15 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Abdelzadeh, AliÖzdemir, MetinVan Zalk, Maarten

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