What is Democracy to Citizens? Understanding perceptions and evaluations of democratic systems in contemporary Europe
Title: What is Democracy to Citizens? Understanding perceptions and evaluations of democratic systems in contemporary Europe
Author: FERRÍN, Mónica
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2012
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
The object of this thesis is Europeans’ orientations to democracy. It is argued in this dissertation that an important variable has been missed in the literature, namely, citizens’ cognitive support for democracy. By including this concept in the analysis of Europeans’ support for democracy, a number of aspects which had been much uncertain until now are inspected. First, conceptual clarification of support for democracy is possible, by distinguishing different types of orientations to democracy. Second, and from an empirical perspective, classical indicators of support for democracy are examined, in order to assess for validity. Interesting results have emerged from the analysis: 1. Determining the structure and the levels of affective support for democracy in Europe. The classic churchillian indicator (‘democracy best’) overstates levels of affective support for democracy in Europe. The structure of affective support for democracy is in fact not homogeneous across Europe, but differs substantially from one group of countries to the others. 2. Mapping types of democrats across Europe. There are different types of democrats across Europe, depending on their cognitive orientations to democracy. These are not evenly spread within each country, but there is correspondence between the structure and levels of affective support and the predominant type of democrats in a country. 3. Studying why people are dis-satisfied with democracy in Europe. The congruence hypothesis (are citizens’ orientations to democracy meaningfully related among them?) is tested. Most citizens are indeed fairly congruent: cognitive and affective supports have an impact on the evaluations of their democratic systems. As such, not only is it possible to determine some of the causes of dis-satisfaction with democracy, but also to claim that the indicator of satisfaction with democracy does reasonably well as a measure of general support for the performance of the regime.
LC Subject Heading: Democracy -- Europe; Democracy -- Public opinion; Comparative government -- Europe; Legitimacy of governments -- Europe
Defence date: 26 November 2012; Examining Board: Professor Alexander Trechsel, European University Institute (supervisor); Professor Hanspeter Kriesi, European University Institute; Professor José Ramón Montero, Universidad Autonóma de Madrid; Professor Bernhard Wessels, Social Science Research Centre Berlin.
Type of Access: openAccess