Chapter%2010

Chapter%2010 - POL 413 ASSIGNMENT Complete the exercises in...

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POL 413 ASSIGNMENT: Complete the exercises in this chapter. Type up your answers to Exercise 10.1 and Exercise 10.2. Refer to "Sample Workbook Assignment" on Blackboard to see how you should format your answers. Your answers are due at the beginning of class on Monday, November 29th. (Group work is not allowed. Each student should do his or her own work. If students have any questions, please contact Prof. Clawson.) 10 10 T RUST IN G OVERNMENT AND S OCIAL C APITAL Questions regarding the trust U.S. citizens have in their government have long occupied the minds of philosophers, political theorists, social scientists, and political activists. In a democracy, is it necessary that citizens trust the government? Must the public have confidence in elected leaders? What are the consequences for democratic government if public trust or confidence is low? Can democracy survive? Of significant interest also are questions exploring the relationships among U.S. citizens. How important for society is it that citizens trust other citizens? Are communities improved if members of the public work together to address issues? How important is civic participation for a community, or even a state or a nation? If members of the public join together in groups, for political or nonpolitical purposes, is democracy enhanced? These questions highlight some core features of democratic life, particularly relationships between citizens and their government as well as public engagement in civic life. Public opinion 1
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scholars have also been interested in assessing the public attitudes and behaviors to which these questions speak, namely trust in government and social capital. The exercises in this chapter will acquaint you with survey data related to these two topics. Throughout the chapter, we hope you will also give some thought to how your analyses might inform your answers to the normative questions that opened this chapter. Trust in Government Citizens possess many attitudes about their government. Some of these are broadly directed, while others focus on how government operates. Public trust in government straddles these two options, tapping into both. Consider, for example, the following two definitions of trust: “The public’s basic evaluative orientation toward the government in Washington” 1 and “The belief that government is operating according to one’s normative expectations of how government should function.” 2 The first suggests that trust is a more general assessment toward government, whereas the second pits actual government functioning with views toward what the government ideally should do. Perhaps because trust does straddle these two types of attitudes, public opinion scholars have disagreed over the best approach for measuring whether citizens trust the government. We do not have the space in this chapter to detail the points of disagreement, other than to say that they hinge in large part on how one defines public trust. 3
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Chapter%2010 - POL 413 ASSIGNMENT Complete the exercises in...

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