Political Disaffection: What We Can Learn from Asking the People

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This interpretive study of the meaning of politics for Dutch citizens offers a distinct contribution to the debate about political disaffection. Politically disaffected citizens interviewed understand politics in terms of a lifeworld-politics clash, and they espouse a policy-oriented ideal of politics that puts their lifeworld at the centre. Although their approach suggests that they turn away from institutional politics that fails this ideal, their citizenship is political, and they demand acknowledgement and inclusion of their view of reality rather than simply improvement in policy quality. These citizens assume themselves to be standing together with others presumably sharing their common sense understandings of what politics should be and how it fails in reality. However, with their micro-level interpretations, they also often see themselves standing alone in politics, without aggregation, integration and articulation of their complaints and demands. So, although confident, opinionated and oriented towards ‘big’ politics, this citizenship is defined by disjunction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-523
JournalParliamentary Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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