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The Good Citizen

The Good Citizen
How a Younger Generation Is Reshaping American Politics

Third Edition

June 2020 | 224 pages | CQ Press
There has been a growing chorus of political analysts with doomsday predictions of an American public that is uncivil, disengaged, and alienated. And it's only getting worse with a younger generation of Americans who do not see the value in voting. The good news is that the bad news is wrong. In this Third Edition of The Good Citizen, Russell Dalton uses current national public opinion surveys, including new evidence from 2018 Pew Center survey data, to show how Americans are changing their views on what good citizenship means. It's not about recreating the halcyon politics of a generation ago, but recognition that new patterns of citizenship call for new processes and new institutions that reflect the values of the contemporary American public. Trends in participation, tolerance, and policy priorities reflect a younger generation that is more engaged, more tolerant, and more supportive of social justice. The Good Citizen shows how a younger generation is creating new norms of citizenship that are leading to a renaissance of democratic participation. An important comparative chapter in the book showcases cross-national comparisons that further demonstrate the vitality of American democracy. 
Tables and Figures
Preface to the Third Edition
About the Author
Chapter 1 Citizenship and the Transformation of American Society
The Social Transformation of America

The Evolution of Citizenship Norms

The Plot of This Book


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?


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

Chapter 4 The Rising Tide of Political Activity
The Forms of Political Action

Voting and Elections

Non-electoral Activity

Old Repertoires and New Repertoires

Citizenship Norms and Participation

Engaged Democrats

Chapter 5 (In)Tolerance in America?
How to Measure Political Tolerance

The Unconventional Evidence: Rising Political Tolerance

Who Is Tolerant, and Who Isn’t

Citizenship and Tolerance

Citizenship and Tolerance: A Second Look

Tolerance in America

Chapter 6 Is Government the Problem or the Solution?
Linking Citizenship Norms to Policy Priorities

We Want Government to Be a Big Spender

Our Spending Priorities

Combining Predictors

Public Policy Preferences

Citizenship Norms and Voting Choice

Citizenship and Public Policy

Chapter 7 The Good Citizen and Democratic Governance
Changing Images of Government

Trusting Political Authorities

Citizenship Norms and Trust in Authorities

Trusting Political Institutions

Democratic Principles

Feelings of National Pride

Citizenship, Trust, and Democracy

“America, Right or Wrong”

Chapter 8 In Tocqueville’s Footsteps
The Norms of Citizenship

The Consequences of Citizenship

Participation since Tocqueville


Democratic Norms

Dear Chicken Little: The Sky Is Not Falling

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

A Culture Tug-of-War

Understanding Millennials

Tocqueville Revisited

Norm Shift and American Democracy

Appendix: Statistical Primer

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2