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The Ambivalent PartisanHow Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy$
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Howard G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston, and Marco R. Steenbergen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199772759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772759.001.0001

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Partisan Ambivalence, Citizen Competence, and American Democracy

Partisan Ambivalence, Citizen Competence, and American Democracy

(p.199) Chapter 8 Partisan Ambivalence, Citizen Competence, and American Democracy
The Ambivalent Partisan

Howard G. Lavine

Christopher D. Johnston

Marco R. Steenbergen

Oxford University Press

The final chapter of the book restates the theoretical model, summarizes the key empirical findings, responds to potential objections to the model and the analysis, and addresses normative issues associated with citizen competence and American democracy. The chapter concludes that the nature of partisanship—social identity versus rational updating—must be understood as fundamentally heterogeneous. It is also highly fluid: univalent and ambivalent partisans do not constitute unwavering differences in behavioral scripts; rather, their status is determined dynamically on the basis of a changing political environment and personal experiences of a situational nature (e.g., being unemployed). The chapter also concludes that poor citizen performance is not inextricably linked to a lack of formal education or political knowledge. Rather, what is at primary issue is motivation. The good citizen is the ambivalent citizen, and good citizenship requires critical loyalty.

Keywords:   citizen competence, American democracy, the good citizen, nature of partisanship

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