Politiskt Intresse och Politisk Apati i Sverige (1960-1998) : Ett mångteoretiskt perspektiv

by Hansla, André

Abstract (Summary)
The presented paper maps out the development of political interest and political apathy in Sweden in the latter part of the 20th century. Also, it is investigated how the number of “new” – non traditional – parties with seats in the municipality, has changed during the refered period of time. By anchoring the research of political interest in a explicit theoretical foundation (one of the papers purpuses), wich highly has been disregarded in earlier research, it was hypothesized that the political interest has increased parallelly with an increasing number of “new” parties in the municipality, but also with an decreasing number of members in established parties and a increased general political distrust. Implicit, this hypothesis claims that the concpetion of political interest not can be reduced to mean the same as an interest in established political institutions – a thesis that is pinpointed throughout the paper. The forward-bringing of a theoretical foundation of the concpetion of political interest, also implied that significantly more measurements of the concept, than is used in other studies, could be deduced within the framwork of this study – improving reliability. Empirical data was mainly collected from the Swedish election studies. The results confirm the hypothesized correlation between increased political interest, decreased political apathy and a growing number of new parties at the local level. As well, it is showed that the political apathy is considerably lower than it has been claimed in other inquiries, and that the apathy almost constantly has decreased since the 1960th. Although, a small increase in the political apathy seems to arise in the late 1990th. Finally, the ontology of the political interest is discussed. It is argued, unlike the general understanding of politics, that the decrease in poltical apathy and the increase in political interest have its explanation in a spreading and prevalence of “special interests”, scarcity, manifoldness, specialization, and value-relativism, and in a loss of a common political “myth” in modern western societies. Although, the opposite explanation is often put forward, namely that “special interests” makes citizens losing interest in political issues – common concerns – and apathical turning its back. But, this explanation and definition of the concept of political interest, that sees special interests as “unpolitical” interests with limited political significance, risks doing established political institutions to ends in themselves. Thererfore, the explanation more or less contrasts the main idea of representative democracy, that is: politics is aimed at mirroring and reflecting society, and politic is a “mean”. In order to avoid doing established political instituions to Aristotelian ends in themselves, the paper is finally reformulating and clarifyinging a blend of new and old liberalistic ontology of political interest.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:06/13/2006

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