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Disaffected Democracies : What's Troubling the Trilateral Countries? - Susan J. Pharr

Disaffected Democracies

What's Troubling the Trilateral Countries?

By: Susan J. Pharr (Editor), Robert D. Putnam (Editor)

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Published: 1st May 2000
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It is a notable irony that as democracy replaces other forms of governing throughout the world, citizens of the most established and prosperous democracies (the United States and Canada, Western European nations, and Japan) increasingly report dissatisfaction and frustration with their governments. Here, some of the most influential political scientists at work today examine why this is so in a volume unique in both its publication of original data and its conclusion that low public confidence in democratic leaders and institutions is a function of actual performance, changing expectations, and the role of information.

The culmination of research projects directed by Robert Putnam through the Trilateral Commission and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, these papers present new data that allow more direct comparisons across national borders and more detailed pictures of trends within countries than previously possible. They show that citizen disaffection in the Trilateral democracies is not the result of frayed social fabric, economic insecurity, the end of the Cold War, or public cynicism. Rather, the contributors conclude, the trouble lies with governments and politics themselves. The sources of the problem include governments' diminished capacity to act in an interdependent world and a decline in institutional performance, in combination with new public expectations and uses of information that have altered the criteria by which people judge their governments.

Although the authors diverge in approach, ideological affinity, and interpretation, they adhere to a unified framework and confine themselves to the last quarter of the twentieth century. This focus--together with the wealth of original research results and the uniform strength of the individual chapters--sets the volume above other efforts to address the important and increasingly international question of public dissatisfaction with democratic governance. This book will have obvious appeal for a broad audience of political scientists, politicians, policy wonks, and that still sizable group of politically minded citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific.

List of Tables and Figuresp. ix
Prefacep. xv
Forewordp. xxiii
Introduction: What's Troubling the Trilateral Democracies?p. 3
Declining Performance of Democratic Institutions
The Public Trustp. 31
Confidence in Public Institutions: Faith, Culture, or Performance?p. 52
Distrust of Government: Explaining American Exceptionalismp. 74
Sources of the Problem: Declining Capacity
Interdependence and Democratic Legitimationp. 101
Confidence, Trust, International Relations, and Lessons from Smaller Democraciesp. 121
The Economics of Civic Trustp. 149
Sources of the Problem: Erosion of Fidelity
Officials' Misconduct and Public Distrust: Japan and the Trilateral Democraciesp. 173
Social Capital, Beliefs in Government, and Political Corruptionp. 202
Sources of the Problem: Cbanges in Information and Criteria of Evaluation
The Impact of Television on Civic Malaisep. 231
Value Change and Democracyp. 252
Mad Cows and Social Activists: Contentious Politics in the Trilateral Democraciesp. 270
Political Mistrust and Party Dealignment in Japanp. 291
Afterwordp. 311
Appendix: The Major Cross-National Opinion Surveysp. 315
Bibliograpbyp. 319
Contributorsp. 347
Index 349
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691049243
ISBN-10: 0691049246
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 1st May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.34 x 15.47  x 2.52
Weight (kg): 0.54