French Critical Citizenship : Between Philosophical Enthusiasm and Political Uncertainty
GB : Palgrave Macmillan
407 - 432 p.
Critical citizenship, Representative democracy, Participation, Distrust, France
This paper sketches the portrait of French critical citizens on the eve of the 2017 presidential election. Following the work of Norris (1999), critical citizenship has emerged as part and parcel of the crisis in representative democracy. While critical citizenship is mainly discussed as a sign of civic apathy and distrust of political institutions and elites, our objective is to investigate the “positive” face of critical citizenship with a focus on what French critical citizens value and aspire to. Drawing on data from the CEVIPOF 2017 French electoral survey, we analyse the socio-demographic and political profile of four groups (Non-Critical Citizens, Demo-Reformers, Demo-Transformers and Demo-Exiters) and examine what is theoretically at stake in their respective models of democracy, criticism and aspirations.