It is generally believed that the relationship between citizens and
the state in West European democracies has undergone a fundamental
change in the last decades. Many observers regard this change as a
challenge to representative democracy. This book addresses the
problem from the citizen's perspective. Singling out the ten
fundamental components of the view that representative democracy is
under threat, the book goes on to test them empirically by drawing
on the extraordinary data set supplied by the Beliefs in Government
research project. The results are startling. They refute the idea
that citizens in West European societies have withdrawn support
from their democracies. But they show exactly how the relationship
between citizen and state has really changed in recent years.
Traditional forms of political expression have clearly declined but
others have evolved in their place. Citizens have become more
critical towards politicians and political parties and they are
willing to use non-institutionalized forms of political action to
pursue their goals and interests.
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