B1 Conditions of Democratic Governance: Behaviour and Orientations of Citizens

Orientations, expectations, and interests of individual citizens form the basis of democratic governance in modern democracies. Due to the enduring societal processes of modernization (especially the increasing 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 have changed rapidly due to the expansion of the repertoire for political participation beyond merely casting a vote. Examples are social media such as Twitter or Facebook, which help to organise political protests. Although general societal developments are similar in many countries, it is clear from a comparative perspective 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 evolve differently in different countries. The main challenge of research in this area is thus to develop more general explanations in situations where differences are apparent on the individual level.