B1 Conditions of Democratic Governance

Orientations, expectations and interests of individual citizens form the basis of democratic governance in modern democracies. With the enduring societal processes of modernization (especially rising levels of education), individualisation and fragmentation citizens have become increasingly reluctant to follow traditional norms or authorities.

Besides, available modes of involvement in democratic decision-making processes changed rapidly by expanding the repertoire for political participation beyond casting a vote. Although general societal developments are similar in many countries, from a comparative perspective it is clear that they do not simply result in a convergence of European political systems. Similarities and differences in orientations, expectations and interests of individual citizens provide distinct opportunities for good governance – which seem to develop differently in different countries. The main challenge of research in this area, then, is to apply more general explanations in situations where differences at the individual level are apparent.