This book offers novel insights into the way in which people talk about politics across various countries. Drawing on focus groups research in nine countries, including ‘mature’ democracies, post-communist ‘new’ democracies and post-authoritarian ‘new’ democracies, it offers comparative reflection on how talk about political activity is shaped by peoples’ perceptions of specific opportunities to participate, the issues that concern them and the broader political environment. It thus examines citizens’ views of major issues and political grievances in their own words and helps to shed new light on reasons for engagement in political acts, whether through electoral or protest channels, or political disengagement.
Table of Contents
Introduction: when citizens talk about politics: towards an analytical framework; 1. Anti-politics statements in fast-thinking: what comes to mind first when thinking about politics; 2. Discussing politics in the UK: non-violence, representativeness, consistency, and fairness as constitutional values; 3. Discourse about politics in the Netherlands: anti-politics and populism, more or less; 4. Idle democrats? Talking about politics in Germany; 5. Convinced direct democrats under strain: talking about politics in Switzerland; 6. Uprising in the streets and ballots: polarisation and radicalisation in the Greek crisis; 7. Reinvigorating Romania’s civil society: talking about politics and corruption in Romania; 8. In the land of inefficacy: talking about Hungarian approaches to participation; 9. Distance and familiarity in political talk in Argentina; 10. Political education as a problem and solution: discussing participation in Brazil; 11. Conclusion: how citizens talk about electoral and protest politics, a cross-country comparison; Methodological Appendix
Clare Saunders is Professor of Politics in the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Department of Politics at the University of Exeter, UK. She is the author of Environmental Networks and Social Movement Theory and the co-author of Politics and the Environment: From Theory to Practice and Prospects for Citizenship.
Bert Klandermans is Chair in Applied Social Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is the author of Social Psychology of Protest and the co-editor of The Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines, The Future of Social Movement Research, Methods of Social Movement Research, and The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Movements.