By Max Kaase, Kenneth Newton

This quantity is a wide and sweeping comparative learn of political attitudes in Western Europe which attracts jointly the most findings of the ideals in executive learn undertaking and units them within the extensive context of contemporary politics in Western Europe. It considers the most post-war writing on democratic difficulty, switch, and transformation within the West, and compares this literature with that giant and vast number of West ecu survey facts that's mentioned intimately within the different sequence volumes.

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The authors come to this judgement having confronted widely held theories about American society in the 1960s and 1970s with survey evidence. Although they are mainly concerned with the cultural and media intelligentsia of America, a reading of the book shows that they regard many social scientists as part of the intelligentsia. Their conclusion might be extended to cover the data-blindness and data-prejudice of social scientists in Europe. In contrast, the goal of this project is both demanding and modest: it seeks to confront major theories of government and politics in modern democratic societies with a body of appropriate evidence; and in doing so it seeks to compile reliable empirical information about the state of, and changes in, public attitudes towards government in Western Europe for as much of the postwar period as possible and for as many nations as possible.

Moreover, in the postmodern and fragmented world with postmodern and fragmented life-styles, they no longer buy into a party, a movement, or the community, but rather take bits and pieces from here and there, as rapidly changing moods and conditions dictate. The mass media play a crucial role in postmodern society, partly because the influence of the mass media is growing rapidly, and partly because postmodern individuals make great use of the media for entertainment and political information (Volume iv, Chapter 11).

Liberal 34 Theories democracy is synonymous with the loss of ideology and passionless, low-temperature politics. Mass politics will be marked by possessive individualism, consumerism, and materialism. This account of modern politics is an almost exact replica of Bell and Lipset's end of ideology thesis. In the second historical stage, and developing out of the dull and drab world of the first, there is, or may be, a growing sense of mass alienation, futility, disillusionment, anomie, and rootlessness, together with a loss of identity and individual pride.

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