London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Cold Hearted Cynics vs Concerned Citizens: Re-Visiting the Notion of Social-Political Cynicism and its Relationship to Citizenship

Author(s) Berkics, M.  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2007  
Editor Ross, A. (ed) Citizenship Education in Society  
Language English  
Age group -  
Social-political cynicism is usually defined in political psychology as a set of negativistic beliefs about the morality and/or benevolence of significant social actors. Previous studies have shown this kind of cynicism to be related to ‘uncitizenlike’ behaviours and phenomena, e.g. low social cohesion and absence from voting. This paper argues that a distinction should be made between at least two different kinds of social-political ‘cynicism’, depending on whether the ‘cynic’ accepts the perceived flaws in society with no emotional response or is disturbed by them. The paper presents survey data to demonstrate the existence of these two kinds of cynicism and their differential consequences to issues of citizenship mentioned above.

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