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The Good Citizen
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The Good Citizen
How a Younger Generation Is Reshaping American Politics

Second Edition


240 pages | CQ Press

The Good Citizen is the perfect introduction to my class. It focuses on younger people, which gives it a direct relevance to my students. The basic argument of the book is very compelling, and was an important qualifier on the normal ‘youth bashing’ that can often happen with regard to millennials and politics. I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint.”

—Michael Franz, Bowdoin College

The Good Citizen uses a new 2014 national public opinion survey to describe how Americans’ views of what it means to be a good citizen is changing. Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger generations are more politically engaged, are more politically tolerant, are supportive of a more active government, have stronger democratic ideals, and are more supportive of social justice. The young are creating new norms of citizenship that are leading to a renaissance of democratic participation. The new edition of this groundbreaking work will reshape the way we think about the American public, American youth, and the prospects for contemporary democracy. It uses evidence from the 2004 and 2014 General Social Surveys to describe Americans’ changing citizenship norms, the emergence of the Millennial Generation, how the Internet is changing participation patterns, and a new statistical primer to help students understand the survey findings.

 
Chapter 1: Citizenship and the Transformation of American Society
The Social Transformation of America

 
 
The Plot of This Book
 
Conclusion
 
DEFINING THE NORMS OF CITIZENSHIP
 
Chapter 2: The Meaning and Measurement of Citizenship
Citizenship in Theory

 
What Is a “Good” Citizen?

 
The Two Faces of Citizenship

 
The Distribution of Citizenship Norms

 
What Kind of Citizenship?

 
Appendix

 
 
Chapter 3: Forming Citizenship Norms
A Generational Gap?

 
The Rising Tide of Social Status

 
Gender and Ethnicity Patterns

 
Citizenship and Religion

 
Partisan Differences in Citizenship

 
Bringing the Pieces Together

 
The Social Roots of Citizenship

 
 
THE CONSEQUENCES OF CITIZENSHIP
 
Chapter 4: Bowling Alone or Protesting with a Group?
The Repertoire of Political Action

 
Voting in Elections

 
Campaign Activity

 
Contacting Government

 
Collective Group Activity

 
Protest and Contentious Actions

 
Online Participation

 
Old Repertoires and New Repertoires

 
Citizenship Norms and Participation

 
Engaged Democrats

 
Appendix

 
 
Chapter 5: Free Speech for Everyone?
How to Measure Political Tolerance

 
The Unconventional Evidence: Rising Political Tolerance

 
Who Is Tolerant and Who Is Not

 
Citizenship and Tolerance

 
Implications of Citizenship and Tolerance

 
 
Chapter 6: Is the Government the Problem or Solution?
What Should Government Do?

 
We Want Government to Be a Big Spender

 
Public Policy Preferences

 
Are Citizenship Norms another Term for Partisanship?

 
Citizenship and Public Policy

 
 
Chapter 7: Is a Good Citizen Trustful or Skeptical of Government?
Changing Images of Government

 
Trusting Political Institutions

 
America, Right or Wrong

 
Appendix – Multivariate Analysis

 
 
Chapter 8: In Tcoqueville's Footsteps
The Norms of Citizenship

 
Comparing the Consequences of Citizenship

 
Citizenship in Comparative Perspective

 
 
CONCLUSION
 
Chapter 9: The Two Faces of Citizenship
Balancing the American Political Culture

 
Understanding Millennials

 
Tocqueville Revisited

 
Norm Shift and American Democracy

 

“Dalton is one of a small number of people who can present research that provides just enough of a comparative perspective on American problems while also presenting a deeper insight about what is unique about American politics. The Good Citizen is an accessible and optimistic work that fits in well with discussions of political polarization and studies of how younger adults engage in politics.”

Rob Boatright
Clark University

The Good Citizen’s strengths are in its clarity of presentation, as the material is presented in a straightforward matter that is easy to understand. It is an excellent book with which to teach.” 

Terri Fine
University of Central Florida

The Good Citizen is the perfect introduction to my class. It focuses on younger people, which gives it a direct relevance to my students. The basic argument of the book is very compelling, and was an important qualifier on the normal ‘youth bashing’ that can often happen with regard to millennials and politics. I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint.”

Michael Franz
Bowdoin College

The Good Citizen is a useful introduction to political science and the social science method for students interested in learning about the diversity of approaches to the study of American politics. The book keeps its focus on civic participation, which is critically important today.”

Robert Schmuhl
University of Notre Dame

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Russell J. Dalton

Russell Dalton is a professor at the University of California, Irvine and former director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. His research and teaching focuses on the changing nature of citizen politics in contemporary democracies. He has received a Fulbright Research Fellowship, a German Marshall Fund Fellowship, Barbra Streisand Center Fellowship and POSCO Research Fellowship. He has served on the boards of the American National Election Study, the British Election Study and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. Among his recent authored or edited books are The Apartisan American (2012), Political Parties and Democratic... More About Author

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