Declining Political Trust, Disenchantment with Politics, and Methods of Political Participation

Start: Jan. 25, 2012
End: Jan. 27, 2012
Place: Cologne, Germany
Contact:
Organizer: GESIS (German Microdata Lab)
Open Call for Papers

Over the last two decades, disenchantment with politics has become more noticeable around
the globe as people feel a growing distance between governments and governed. When asked,
some voters state that politicians do not listen to what the people want, causing many to turn
away from politics in frustration. Others voice their opinions in the streets, protesting against
political decisions, thus demonstrating that they want to have their say in politics – not just on
Election Day.

At the same time, public opinion surveys suggest that political trust is declining meaning that
people are less and less confident in their governments and other political institutions. Is there
a connection between trust in and disenchantment with politics as the public debate often
suggests? If so, what are the reasons behind this development? The literature offers a variety
of economic, social, cultural and political explanations for declining levels of trust; similar
factors are usually mentioned when disenchantment with politics is concerned. Can we
identify major driving factors from this potpourri of potential explanations? Are the same
mechanisms at work in all affected countries? And if so, under which conditions might
citizens re-invest trust into the political system?

Taking into account the theoretical and practical relevance of political trust for modern
democracies and the open questions that still remain after about 50 years of research, further
work on the topic seems in order. We encourage contributions addressing the questions raised
above, or the meaning and transformation of the concept in different time periods or
countries, or new ways of measuring trust. In particular we suggest using the existing
comparative data bases (such as CSES, EVS, Eurobarometer, ESS, ISSP). Manuscripts should
cover either one country for more than one period of time, or compare several countries, or
both.

Contributions of no more than 8000 words should be sent as pdf-files to poltrust@gesis.org
by September 30, 2011. Formal abstracts will not be required, but we recommend getting in
contact with the editors as soon as possible to discuss the focus of your contribution. The
intention is to publish the contributions after a peer-reviewed process. You may also consider
using EUROLAB (www.gesis.org/eurolab) facilities for preparing your contribution.



Editors:

Christina Eder (GESIS, Head of Research Data Center Elections)

Ingvill C. Mochmann (GESIS, Head of EUROLAB)

Markus Quandt (GESIS, Head of Research Data Center International Survey Programs)

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