ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

In the Name of Democracy: Disobedience, Protest, and Value-Oriented Citizenship

Davide Morselli
Université de Lausanne
Davide Morselli
Université de Lausanne
Stefano Passini
Università di Bologna
Open Panel

Abstract

According to pluralistic tradition of theory and research (Dahl, 1977), democracy can exist only when values concerning rights and liberties are shared among members of a society: when a democratic culture is established and enhanced among citizens, institutions are more likely to reflect such value orientations opting for democracy-enhancing policies and practices (e.g. more democratic procedure for participation, defence of individual rights of freedom of speech, defence of pluralism and the humanitarian norms). However, selected research highlighted a paradoxical phenomenon existing in democratic systems: people supporting democracy are also those most willing to protest against the authority and to question it. The social-psychological perspective can contribute in resolving this paradox of contemporary democratic citizenship. Indeed, if obedience to authority is relevant as it ensures the continuity of social and group life, disobedience may be crucial in stopping the authority relationship from degenerating into an authoritarian one. Following Kelman and Hamilton’s (1989) analysis of legitimacy dynamics, in this paper we highlight how actions of disobedience may serve the defense of democracy. In particular, by framing the different ways in which people relate to the political system, the relevance of so-called value-oriented citizens in supporting democracy will be considered.