Summary of Critical Citizens

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Critical Citizens book summary


7 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

5 Style


The waning support among citizens for democratic institutions and their political leaders has been well documented in the United States in recent years. Now, academics analyzing global support for democracy have uncovered similar trends in other democracies. Mistrust of politicians, it seems, is becoming one of the universal values of the global village, according to this compilation edited by Pippa Norris. The book draws data from the World Value Survey, a unique, comprehensive survey of citizens of the world’s democracies. By definition, democracies are made up of diverse interest groups, each clamoring for itself – so, is skepticism really a surprise, or unhealthy? More important, is it an indication that perhaps democracies are not as stable as you might hope? getAbstract recommends this book to those with an interest – be it philosophical or commercial – in the growth and health of global democracies, and also notes its specific interest to students of political science.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many citizens have become increasingly skeptical of democracies and politicians;
  • What theories explain this; and
  • How this dissatisfaction could create openings for the rise of authoritarian governments.

About the Author

Pippa Norris is Associate Director of the Joan Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy Center of Government. Norris specializes in comparative political behavior.



Have Cynicism, Will Travel
One sage observed that democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others. Small wonder, then, that North America’s widespread political cynicism extends abroad. If the US exports democracy, it also exports cynicism. Surveys show that citizens...

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