Quotation Butzlaff, Felix, Messinger-Zimmer, Sören. 2019. Undermining or defending Democracy? The Consequences of Distrust for Democratic Attitudes and Participation. Critical Policy Studies.




We can observe a well-documented decline of trust levels in Western societies: from the reputation of political representatives as being ‘not trustworthy’ to the rise of anti-system-oriented populist parties. Yet the implications of different forms of distrust for a society and democratic institutions have been theorized in conflicting ways so far. In order to illuminate existing inconsistencies in social and democratic theory, this article addresses two research questions: What are the implications of different manifestations of distrust for the acceptance of democracy and democratic institutions? How do different forms of distrust affect the motivation to become engaged in democratic decision-making and in civil society institutions? Taking empirical evidence from 25 focus groups in Germany, our findings show that growing social divisions affect the role distrust plays for political interest representation of social groups and for the acceptance of liberal representative democracy.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Critical Policy Studies
Citation Index SCI
Language English
Title Undermining or defending Democracy? The Consequences of Distrust for Democratic Attitudes and Participation
Year 2019
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2019.1584120
Open Access Y
Open Access Link http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2019.1584120


Butzlaff, Felix (Details)
Messinger-Zimmer, Sören (Institut für Demokratieforschung, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany)
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5118 Political science (Details)
5402 General sociology (Details)
5413 Sociological methods (Details)
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