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Understanding Critical Citizenship and Other Forms of Public Dissatisfaction: An Alternative Framework

Ali Abdelzadeh, Joakim Ekman

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Previous research has paid much attention to citizen dissatisfaction and the trends of growing political disaffection, cynicism, and scepticism – in short, the emergence of ‘critical citizens’. Also, more recently, critical citizens have sometimes been viewed as an asset for democracy. However, despite both pessimistic and optimistic interpretations of public criticism, the issue of conceptualizing negative attitudes has received less attention. The present study was conducted to enrich understanding of this particular dimension of citizens’ attitudes. To this end, the paper suggests an alternative theoretical framework for analysing various forms of negative political orientations. The framework has been tested empirically using three types of statistical procedures, which demonstrate its validity and usefulness.

Keywords: Critical citizens – political dissatisfaction – political disaffection – negative political orientations – political attitudes – youths