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Introduction: Political Confidence and Democracy

  • Christian Schnaudt
Chapter
Part of the Contributions to Political Science book series (CPS)

Abstract

Political confidence establishes a cornerstone of any stable democratic system, as it enhances both the legitimacy and effectiveness of democratic governance. In recent years, however, growing and recurring concerns about low and decreasing levels of political confidence have been echoed among numerous scholars, politicians, and journalists alike. While some are skeptical about the implications of political confidence for the viability of modern democracies, others have labeled this situation a crisis, a malaise, or even a breakdown. In the introductory chapter of his book, Schnaudt argues that most of what is known about the levels, developments, and consequences of political confidence may be incomplete or even misleading. According to the author, research on political confidence is characterized by a restricted and unwarranted focus on representative institutions and authorities and a concomitant neglect of citizens’ confidence in regulative institutions and authorities. In order to arrive at a thorough and encompassing empirical picture about the relevance of political confidence for the functioning and well-being of contemporary democracies, the author makes a case for analyzing the distinctiveness, antecedents, and consequences of citizens’ confidence in both representative and regulative institutions and authorities. In doing so, Schnaudt challenges the predominant usage of so-called one-dimensional conceptions of political confidence that obscure important qualitative differences between citizens’ confidence in representative and regulative institutions and authorities. The introductory chapter outlines the major research problems and challenges in detail, presents the research questions and strategy pursued throughout the book, and concludes with a discussion of the data basis used for the empirical analysis.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Schnaudt
    • 1
  1. 1.GESIS, Leibniz Institute for the Social SciencesMannheimGermany

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