The related subjects of political legitimacy and system support are key theoretical concerns of students of democratic societies. They have received very little scholarly attention, however, because of the conceptual and methodological complexities they engender. In this book the authors address these concerns through systematic multivariate analyses of the sources, distribution, and consequences of variations in citizen support for key political objects in one such society, Canada. Although the authors do so within a comparative context, their primary focus is on Canada because it is one of the world's oldest democracies and is a country that has experienced support problems that periodically have reached crisis proportion. Many of the problems facing Canada are more extreme examples of difficulties that have vexed other democracies. This study helps illuminate both the conditions under which democracies in general are able to sustain themselves and those under which they could flounder.
The authors demonstrate that political support has its origins in people's political socialization experiences and their instrumental judgments about the operation of key political and economic institutions and processes. They find that political support is not 'of a piece'. Average citizens are able to distinguish among and ascribe different degrees of support to key objects such as parliament, the bureaucracy, judiciary, political community itself. Support also is dynamic and can vary markedly over relatively brief intervals of time. For example, periodic national elections, changing economic conditions, and the activities of political parties have a significant impact on support levels. And, differences in support for authorities, regime, and community do matter. They affect the levels of public participation in a variety of conventional and unconventional political activities as well as the relative willingness of people to comply with the authoritative edicts of government.
Series: Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 24th April 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.62