Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility (Hardcover)

Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility By Emily Sydnor Cover Image
Email or call for price.


The majority of Americans think that politics has an "incivility problem" and that this problem is only getting worse. Research demonstrates that negativity and rudeness in politics have been increasing for decades. But how does this tide of impolite-to-outrageous language affect our reactions to media coverage and our political behavior?

Disrespectful Democracy offers a new account of the relationship between incivility and political behavior based on a key individual predisposition--conflict orientation. Individuals experience conflict in different ways; some enjoy arguments while others are uncomfortable and avoid confrontation. Drawing on a range of original surveys and experiments, Emily Sydnor contends that the rise of incivility in political media has transformed political involvement. Citizens now need to be able to tolerate or even welcome incivility in the public sphere in order to participate in the democratic process. Yet individuals who are turned off by incivility are not brought back in by civil presentation of issues. Sydnor considers the challenges in evaluating incivility's normative benefits and harms to the political system: despite some detrimental aspects, certain levels of incivility in certain venues can promote political engagement, and confrontational behavior can be a vital tool in the citizen's democratic arsenal. A rigorous and empirically informed analysis of political rhetoric and behavior, Disrespectful Democracy also proposes strategies to engage citizens across the range of conflict orientations.

About the Author

Emily Sydnor is assistant professor of political science at Southwestern University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780231189248
ISBN-10: 0231189249
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Pages: 256
Language: English