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The European Union and Beyond

The Political Turn of Citizens: What does Disaffection Mean?

Ernesto Ganuza
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Ernesto Ganuza
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Patricia García-Espín
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Stefano De Marco
Universidad de Salamanca

There is a particularly relevant question about democracy: what is the place of citizenship in it? Some recent scholar works have raised this question: to what extent citizenship itself is actively participating in the political system? We present the findings of a qualitative study of ideas, perceptions and preferences that society has about democracy today, starting always with the sense political disaffection has by citizens. It is a work in line with previous research in the U.S. (Hibbing and Theiss-Morse; Neblo; Mutz) and Europe (Font in Spain, Bengtsson in Finland). So, we set out to answer several questions of relevance, for example, if the public wants to effectively participate in the political process, what is the meaning of his rejection of parties as channels of participation, what should be the involvement of citizens, experts, politicians and businessmen in the political process and what are, if they are, the imagined alternatives to a hypothetical institutional change. The research rests on seven focus groups in Spain and Italy. We are going to do the same focus group in UK and France. That will allow us to make an international comparison to analyze what political disaffection means by citizens
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