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

Second Edition


October 2015 | 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
Key features

NEW AND KEY FEATURES:

  • New attention to the Millennial Generation and its continued trend toward engaged citizenship, greater political tolerance, and new forms of political engagement
  • New national opinion survey data from 2014 General Social Survey on Americans’ changing norms of citizenship since 2004
  • New evidence on the partisan values of younger Americans
  • More discussion of how the Internet is changing participation patterns
  • Additional material on whether the Great Recession has altered citizenship norms
  • New statistical primer to help students understand the survey findings
  • An important comparative chapter showcasing cross-national comparisons that further demonstrate the vitality of American democracy
 

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