Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Oana Lup
Seeking the Soul of Democracy: A Review of Recent Research into Citizens’ Political Talk Culture

Swiss Political Science Review, 2013: 19, issue 4, pp. 513-538
ISSN: 1424-7755 (print); 1662-6370 (online)

This article provides a review of extant empirical research on ordinary citizens’ everyday political communication, its phenomenology, determinants, consequences, and relevance for demo- cratic politics. It highlights the recent upsurge in interest in the study of political conversations against the background of both classic and more recent developments in democratic theory and empirical research that served as intellectual inspirations. The article discusses conceptual and methodological issues of research into interpersonal political communication and presents key find- ings with regard to the background and consequences of political talk, tapping into fundamental aspects of democratic citizenship such as political preferences, participation, cognitive involvement with politics as well as orientations towards fellow citizens and towards the democratic political system. It concludes with an assessment of the state of the art in this field of study, highlighting desirable avenues for future empirical research.